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Hillary Clinton says Blair to play bigger role in Mideast


WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is going to play a bigger role in efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks by intensifying his partnership with special US Mideast envoy George Mitchell.
In a written statement, Clinton said she had spoken to Blair on Thursday about developments in the region. As a result of that call, she said Blair would broaden his current role as representative of the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers to "intensify his partnership" with Mitchell in support of the attempt to revive political negotiations.
Blair took his position as leader of the Quartet — comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia — in June 2007. Until now he has confined his activities to building support for the Palestinian Authority. He had not served as a mediator or negotiator.
Clinton's statement did not say how Blair would partner with Mitchell in the effort to revive peace talks. Clinton aides said they did not immediately have details.
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