Blair: ME needs viable Palestinian state

Plans to tell Abbas of "total determination to create the chance for peace."

blair walks 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
blair walks 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Bringing democracy and justice to the Middle East is the best way to guarantee the future security of the West, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday. Blair planned to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas later Wednesday and to have a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The British prime minister said he believed a "well functioning, independent and viable" Palestinian state was crucial to peace in the region. The establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has been the focus of long-stalled international peace efforts. The British leader told lawmakers he planned to tell Abbas there was a "total determination to use the new opportunity to create the chance for peace." Blair, addressing the House of Commons, said that establishing a proper Palestinian state was essential "for the sake of Israel as well as for all we want to achieve in the Middle East." A meeting of the so-called Quartet of Middle East peacemakers was also taking place in Berlin, Germany, on Wednesday. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was briefing the other Quartet members - the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - on the results of her three-way summit Monday with Abbas and Olmert. Monday's talks ended with no new agreements and a pledge to keep talking.