TONY Blair is in discussions about a change in his role in the Middle East as reports emerged earlier today of the former prime minister’s lack of credibility among immediate colleagues and strategic partners.
And one source told the Daily Telegraph that diplomats on all sides “rolled their eyes at the mention of his name.”
Mr Blair represents the quartet - the United States of America, United Nations, Russia and the European Union - as Middle East peace envoy working with the Palestinians.
His role is expected to become more regional although it is likely to continue to include work on the Palestinian economy.
But senior diplomats told the Financial Times Mr Blair was being eased out. They said: “It is long overdue. He has been ineffective in this job. He has no credibility in this part of the world.”
Another source, who was not named, told the Telegraph: “In the end the Israelis didn’t mind him, because he was heavily tilted towards them, but the Palestinians couldn’t stand him and most of the rest of the peace-making community and other groups included, just rolled their eyes.
“Of course people met with him – he’s the former British prime minister and head of the Quartet – but beyond the media, there’s was really nothing much doing.”
Mr Blair took on the role after standing down as prime minister in 2007 but his tenure has been controversial.
Critics have attacked the lack of progress achieved in the region and last year three former British ambassadors backed a campaign calling for him to be sacked and accused him of trying to “absolve himself” of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.
A senior source in the US administration said: “Our position is clear. Tony Blair has been a valued partner in trying to bring peace to the Middle East and we will continue to value his input and support.”
Prime Minister David Cameron’s official spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: “I have seen the reports that Mr Blair may be considering a revised role.
“He has been doing an important role as the quartet representative since the second half of 2007. In terms of his own approach to how he thinks he may be best able to make a contribution, that is principally a matter for Tony Blair.
“The Prime Minister thinks he has been doing important work as the quartet’s representative.”
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