‘Sack Blair’ as Mideast envoy, urges campaign
Ambassadors argue that Blair's 2003 Iraq invasion was the cause of the rise of 'fundamentalist terrorism'
A campaign by a group of former British ambassadors demanded the removal of Tony Blair from his role as Middle East envoy after his recent attempt to “absolve himself” of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, British daily newspaper The Guardian reported Monday.
The campaign, led by Blair’s former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, describes the achievements of Blair in the region as “negligible” and he is guilty of seeking to please the Israelis.
“It is our view that, after seven years, Mr Blair’s achievements as Envoy are negligible, even within his narrow mandate of promoting Palestinian economic development. Furthermore, the impression of activity created by his high-profile appointment has hindered genuine progress towards a lasting peace,” the letter read.
It also adds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was the cause of the rise of “fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously.”
The letter, which was written before Friday’s seventh anniversary of Blair’s appointment as the representative of the “quartet” on the Middle East, is addressed to John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state; Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister; Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. secretary general; and Cathy Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief.
The quartet, which gathers the U.N., the EU, Russia and the U.S., is in charge of mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In response to the campaign, a spokesperson for Blair dismissed the letter and said it had been drawn up by an “alliance of hard-right and hard-left” whose members are “viscerally opposed” to the former prime minister.
“Their attack is neither surprising nor newsworthy. They include the alliance of hard right and hard left views which he has fought against all his political life. Of course he completely disagrees with them over the Middle East. He believes passionately in the two state solution but also believes that can only be achieved by a negotiation with Israel,” the spokesperson said.