Envoy Blair plans visit to Gaza

Other News Materials 15 July 2008 12:52 (UTC +04:00)

The international Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, is due to travel to Gaza for the first time since the militant group Hamas took control in 2007.

The United Nations says Mr Blair will discuss humanitarian work in the strip and visit a water treatment plant, reported BBC.

He is not expected to meet any representatives from Hamas, which says it will make all the necessary security arrangements for his visit.

The international community does not recognise the Hamas government in Gaza.

While in Gaza, Mr Blair will meet with the commissioner general of the UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, Karen Abu Zaid, and the body's local director, John Ging.

The European Union, the United States and Israel consider Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.

Tony Blair will be the highest-ranking official to go to Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in June 2007 from Fatah forces loyal to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The former British prime minister was appointed as Middle East envoy in the same month by the Quartet - the US, the EU, the UN and Russia.

Mr Blair was asked to focus on economic issues with the aim of bolstering the chances of a peace deal this year.