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Source: Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR)
5 September 2011

Tony Blair: only resolution will come through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians

Quartet Representative Tony Blair set out his determination to see a return to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians as soon as possible to go alongside the work being done to improve the facts on the ground.

Tony Blair was speaking in Tel Aviv at the first International Conference for Regional Cooperation, organised by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom.

“Anything by way of economics can never be a substitute for politics,” Tony Blair stressed, in what is his seventieth visit to the region since taking up the Quartet Representative role.

But as far as making progress is concerned, there is “an intimate relationship between economics, politics and security” meaning building the economy “helps politics to work.”

Asked about what he thinks will happen in the region in the next few weeks as the Palestinian Authority plans to go the United Nations, Tony Blair emphasised the need to return to direct negotiations and said he was trying to find a framework that would bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.

“We should try as hard as we possibly can to find a way through that allows us to get back to the only thing that will resolve this, and that is a negotiation toward a viable independent state of Palestine and a secure state of Israel recognised by the region,” Tony Blair said.

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