Blair says time running out for Mideast peace 20Jun13 June 20, 2013

Ma’an News Agency     -    19 June 2013

190085_345x230JERUSALEM (AFP) — Time is running out for the Middle East peace process, which must move forward or face total failure, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday.

“The window of opportunity will be open for only a short space of time,” he said, speaking in Jerusalem at the 2013 Presidential Conference, hosted by Israel’s President Shimon Peres.

“Let’s hope that over the coming weeks a plan can be put in place in which politics, economics and security are aligned. With (US) Secretary (of State) John Kerry’s fantastic energy and commitment, we’re all working hard to accomplish this,” Blair told delegates.

Kerry has visited the region four times since taking office in February in a bid to push Palestinian and Israeli leaders to return to talks, which broke down shortly after they were launched in September 2010.

“But we should understand, the window of opportunity will be open for only a short space of time. We must go through it together. If not the window will close again and could even close forever,” Blair warned.

“Time is not our friend. This is urgent. This is now. And it is a time for statesman, not politicians.”

Blair’s comments come as a series of high profile Israeli officials have recently publicly dismissed the two state solution.

On Monday, Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennett said the idea of a Palestinian state was at a “dead-end”, calling it “pointless” and urging Israel to “build, build, build.”

Bennett’s remarks come after Israel’s Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, rejected in an interview earlier this month with The Times of Israel the notion that the government was serious about reaching a peace agreement that would lead to a two-state solution.


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