Blair to resign as Middle East Quartet envoy

Updated: 2015-05-28 09:08


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Blair to resign as Middle East Quartet envoy

Tony Blair, Special Envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet and former British Prime Minister, as he speaks with an aid before meeting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin for the first time in the president's Jerusalem residence, in this Dec 2, 2014 file photo.[Photo/IC]

UNITED NATIONS -- The Middle East Quartet on Wednesday confirmed that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair planned to resign as the Quartet's representative in the Middle East, a role he has held for eight years since his departure from Downing Street.

"The Quartet today expressed its deep appreciation to Tony Blair as he plans to step aside as the Quartet's Representative," said a statement by the Quartet released by UN Spokesperson's Office.

The Quartet, which includes the United Nations (UN), the United States, the European Union and Russia, was set up in 2002 to facilitate a peace agreement based on the widely backed two-State solution: a secure state of Israel living in peace with an independent state of Palestine.

Blair was appointed to the part-time position without payment in 2007 immediately after he stepped down as British prime minister.

"As the Quartet's envoy on the ground during the last eight years, Mr. Blair demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace and made lasting contributions to the effort to promote economic growth and improve daily life in the West Bank and Gaza," said the statement.

Earlier Wednesday, reports said Blair has written to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to forward his resignation. Reports also said his resignation is possibly due to the limited authority of his mandate.

A real peace between Israel and the Palestinians was not made during 2014, as the U.S.-sponsored direct peace talks between the two sides, broke down a year ago after lasting for nine months without achieving any significant progress.

In January this year, the Quartet met in Brussels to assess the political outlook for the region and prospects for reviving the Middle East peace process.