Blair Says Palestinians and Israelis Reached a Secret Agreement
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stated publicly that Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have reached a secret agreement.
In an interview with the leading Palestinian daily Al Quds, Blair stated that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have resolved differences between them, although he was careful to note that this agreement has not been signed. When pressed by the Palestinian reporter about the failure of the Annapolis process which began last year, Blair stated the following: "The continuous meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and [Israeli leader] Olmert as well as the continuous negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli teams has produced an agreement." Blair said that he respects the choice of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders not to divulge details and therefore he would not give any further details.
Tony Blair who represents the Quartet Committee for Peace in the Middle East praised the courage of U.S. President George Bush for his public pursuit for an agreement on a Palestinian state before the end of his term. Leaders of the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority are in the last months of their terms in office. President Bush's last days in office is January 20th, Olmert has resigned and new elections are slated for February 2009, and the legal term of Mahmoud Abbas is due to expire January 9th. Blair praised President Elect Obama saying that he worked closely with General Jones who Obama choose as national security advisor.
On Iraq, Blair refused to admit that the decision he took as prime minister of the United Kingdom in 2003 to invade Iraq was wrong saying that Iran and Al Qaeeda were a threat to the national security of Iraq. Blair blamed the thousands of Iraqis killed in Iraq on Al Qaeeda and other militias. The interview in Al Quds can be read in Arabic here.