Quartet envoy Blair to arrive for talks with Israelis, Palestinians

Middle East envoy Tony Blair will arrive this week for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders ahead of a conference of mediators, his spokesman said Sunday. Blair is to arrive Tuesday, spokesman Matthew Doyle said in a statement. He said Blair will also travel to Saudi Arabia and Egypt before arriving in Israel. The "Quartet" of mediators is made up of the US, EU, UN and Russia. It sponsored the "road map" peace plan issued in 2003. Negotiations over the plan to create a Palestinian state in stages never progressed beyond the first stage. Blair, who took the position of "Quartet" mediator after he retired as British prime minister, made a brief trip to the area in late July. His predecessor, former World Bank head James Wolfensohn, resigned in frustration in 2005.