Blair Tapped as Mideast Envoy

He'll prepare Palestinians for Israeli talks
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2007 4:31 AM CDT
Previously unreleased photo issued Sunday, June 24, 2007, of Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, on his way back to London's 10 Downing Street after Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Tony Blair will move into a key post as international Mideast peace envoy after  wrapping up 10 years as British prime minister tomorrow. President Bush personally mounted an "enormous push"  for the appointment, which will be based in Jerusalem and will involve working with the Palestinians to prepare for negotiations with Israel, the Guardian reports.

Blair will represent Russia, the US, UN and EU at a time of unprecedented division among the Palestinians, with fundamentalist Hamas controlling Gaza and secular Fatah controlling the West Bank. Though Britain's involvement in the Iraq war could complicate his role, Blair is generally held in high regard by Arab political elites, observers believe.