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Blair says breakthrough in Middle East talks still possible

Arab World Materials 5 January 2011 20:01
The stalemate in the Middle East peace process must be solved "within weeks" if any progress is to be made towards a negotiated settlement, Tony Blair warned Wednesday, DPA reported.
Blair says breakthrough in Middle East talks still possible

The stalemate in the Middle East peace process must be solved "within weeks" if any progress is to be made towards a negotiated settlement, Tony Blair warned Wednesday, DPA reported.

In a BBC interview, the former British prime minister, who now acts as an international peace envoy for the Middle East, said he was optimistic that a breakthrough could still be achieved.

A recent visit to the region had left him with the impression that there was "the prospect of putting together something," said Blair.

"I still think it is possible - I would even go so far, but then I'm always on the optimistic side of the spectrum, as to say likely - that we can put that back together again in the coming weeks," he said.

But he dismissed the notion that a separate Palestinian state could be declared without Israeli agreement.

"I don't think anything that is done unilaterally is ever as good as anything that is done by agreement, and frankly it won't work unless it is done by agreement, ultimately," Blair said.

"Essentially, what we have got to do over the next few weeks - and I think it is measured in weeks and not months - is first of all give shape to the negotiation," he added.        Asked what would happen if there was no breakthrough in the next few weeks, Blair, who acts as envoy for the Quartet of the UN, US, EU and Russia, responded: "If it doesn't happen, then we really are stuck."

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