Blair set to be confirmed as Middle East peace envoy

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TONY BLAIR was today set to be confirmed as the international Middle East peace envoy.

In his last full day in office, the Prime Minister was today to discuss climate change with film star turned California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mr Blair was on the verge of landing the major international job he had hoped for following the handover of power to Gordon Brown tomorrow.

American sources said final talks today with the other members of the quartet responsible for trying to find a peaceful solution to the Middle East and Palestinian problems would confirm Mr Blair in the new role.

Discussions will take place in Jerusalem today between the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia to finalise his role.

The announcement of Mr Blair as peace envoy to the region comes as Hamas, the Islamic Fundamentalist group that last week seized control of Gaza, said it was ready to talk to its Faatah rivals who remained the government in the Palestinian territories and have kept control of the West Bank.

Mr Blair's appointment has been strongly backed by US President George Bush and his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice despite reservations in the Muslim world over Britain's involvement in the invasion of Iraq. The post has been vacant since former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn quit the post last year.

Today Mr Blair was holding breakfast talks with Mr Schwarzenegger about climate change at 10 Downing Street before the handover.

Along with Environment Secretary David Miliband he was talking with the California governor about how best to cut greenhouse gases and slow down global warming.

Mr Schwarzenegger, initially sceptical on the issue, was the first senior Republican in the United States to declare tackling climate change a priority.