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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blair Middle East mission snubbed

Al-Guardian's Sunday Observer is reporting that a mission by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to revive the 'peace talks' with the 'Palestinians' was rejected by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The cool Israeli response is likely to fan backbench criticism of the Prime Minister's handling of the Lebanon crisis in the run-up to next month's Labour party conference, with some critics pressing for him to name a date for his departure from Downing Street.

Blair has been fending off accusations of toeing the Americans' line over Lebanon by saying he was determined to get a 'stable' ceasefire and use it as a launch-pad for an early US-backed effort for new talks on a wider Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In a reflection of the mood of deep scepticism within Labour, one of the party's MPs quoted the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as telling a private meeting last week that the Americans' record on the Israeli-Palestinian 'road map' talks was 'crap'. Prescott said he had been misquoted.

The Israeli rebuff was reportedly delivered by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at private talks last week with Blair's Middle East envoy, Lord Levy. In a series of meetings to test the diplomatic waters, Levy also met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Downing Street and Levy refused any comment yesterday on his meetings. But a diplomatic source familiar with the talks told The Observer that Olmert's message was: 'Not now. After this difficult war, Israelis are simply not ready for new talks with the Palestinians.'


At 1:57 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


I don't think Olmert has any control over Peretz.


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