Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tony Blair Working to Avoid UN 'Showdown' Over Palestinian Statehood

if you were following the Quartet's efforts over the past 3 years, to revive the peace talks, you would kinda chuckle to hear the Palestinians portraying Tony Blair as a Right wing likudnik....

This story from the Telegraph:
"Tony Blair has earned the fury of Palestinian leaders after he was accused of blatant pro-Israel bias for his role in attempting to derail their bid for statehood at the UN.

Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian negotiator, said Mr Blair's efforts had convinced Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, that he no choice but to press ahead with his UN bid and abandon all thoughts of compromise.

"I gulped," Mr Shaath said. "This was the statement that was supposed to persuade President Abbas not to go? Mr. Blair doesn't sound like a neutral interlocutor. He sounds like an Israeli diplomat sometimes."
Back to work...
(ABC news). Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Quartet's special envoy to the Middle East, told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview that he is continuing to work to avert a showdown at the United Nations this week over Palestinian statehood, hoping to craft "a framework of reference" for renewing peace process negotiations.
"What we will be looking for over the next few days, is a way of putting together something that allows their claims and legitimate aspirations for statehood to be recognized while actually renewing the only thing that's going to produce a state, which is a negotiation directly between the two sides."

"I think there is a way of avoiding a confrontation or a showdown, The only way in the end we are going to get a Palestinian state, and this week is all about advancing Palestinian statehood, the only way to do it ultimately is through negotiation."

WBlair said he hopes agreeing on a framework for reviving negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis will create "a less confrontational atmosphere" and move the long-dormant peace process forward.

"We're trying to put together, in the Quartet body, that's the body of the international community, a statement that is essentially a framework of reference for the negotiations, So, it sets out … where we want to go on issues like borders. It describes all the main issues to be negotiated. And I think what's going to be really important is also to give some sense of a time frame ... for a successful negotiation.

"We haven't had proper negotiations now for really quite a long time, And what that means is that both sides become very frustrated with this situation. Both sides look for ways of advancing their position unilaterally rather than bilaterally or multilaterally ... even these difficult issues like settlements and so on, the only way of resolving them is to sit down and negotiate borders, security, refugees, Jerusalem, the core issues at stake here."