Hanan Ashrawi is laughing heartily. With rockets shooting over the Gaza Strip and the conflict escalating, the job of a Palestinian politician is usually a pretty serious task. Therefore, it is a welcome sign that she can enjoy some light relief from time to time.
So what is the source of her amusement? I have just asked her what she thinks of former British prime minister Tony Blair’s leadership since he was appointed the official envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, the entity set up to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and made up of the foursome of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia.
“I don’t think it is Tony Blair’s leadership… I think the Quartet is run exclusively by Washington; it is unfortunately and we are right now in discussions with the members of the Quartet in order for them to take their own policies seriously, the EU and the UN,” she says, once she regains her composure.
“The Quartet has been, in many ways, sidelined by the US, diverted by the US and we believe that they must step up and they must decide to take their own policies seriously and their own commitments and we are working on this with them.”