Despite 'Skepticism,' Blair Nudges Netanyahu on Talks

Urges negotiations for two-state solution, more freedom for Palestinians
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 6, 2009 12:53 PM CDT
Former British Prime Minister and international Middle East envoy Tony Blair, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, arrive for a meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, March 19.   (AP Photo/Pavel Wolberg)
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(Newser) – Though “there is a great deal of skepticism out there” about the motivation of Israel’s new prime minister, Middle East envoy Tony Blair today encouraged Benjamin Netanyahu to resume Palestinian peace talks amid efforts to improve the West Bank’s economy, Reuters reports. A “credible political negotiation for a two-state solution” should take place “in parallel” with removing restrictions to Palestinians’ movement, Blair said.

Palestinians must gradually “take control of their own territory," Blair said he told Netanyahu. He also called on the Israeli prime minister to loosen the Gaza blockade. The former British PM added that Netanyahu “does understand that, if the right context can be created for peace, the only lasting peace is based on a two-state solution.”