Blair, Peres meet to discuss improving the Palestinian economy

The Quartet's Middle East envoy Tony Blair met with President Shimon Peres Wednesday morning to discuss what further steps can be taken towards improving the Palestinian economy. Blair told reporters that, with all the reasons for concern over continuing rocket attacks, it was important to keep focus on economic potential. Many industrial projects were making progress, he said. "There's an awful lot we can do. None of it is a substitute for political negotiations and the political process, but economic progress can supplement the political process." The more economic potential that can be offered for the future, Blair said, the better the chances of resolving the political situation. Peres stated that he was very pleased that Blair was back in the region to aid the economic effort. "There's very little we can do in Gaza but a lot which we can do in the Valley of Peace, where a great deal of investment can be injected," Peres said, referring to an economic project he has championed in the Dead Sea area which is intended to increase regional stability and cooperation. staff contributed to this report.