Palestinians want Blair replaced as Middle East envoy


RAMALLAH, West Bank: A senior Palestinian official called Wednesday for the replacement of international Middle East envoy Tony Blair, saying the former British leader is biased in favor of Israel and is “of no use at all.”

Mohammed Ishtayeh, a member of the Central Committee of the dominant Fatah movement and a confidant of President Mahmoud Abbas, told Voice of Palestine radio that Blair was no longer trusted to be an impartial mediator.

His comments were the latest in a series of recent public complaints by Palestinian figures about Blair’s effectiveness, but went further by calling for the envoy’s replacement.

Ishtayeh said the Palestinians had also written to the “Quartet” of mediating powers which Blair represents — the European Union, United States, Russia and United Nations — to say its latest proposition for a resumption of stalled peace negotiations was too vague to be meaningful.

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