Blair: New initiatives could come soon to resolve Mideast conflict
British PM, who is planning visit to region, says progress on conflict is essential for solution in Iraq.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview published Friday that new initiatives could be presented soon to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Blair, who plans to travel to the Middle East in coming weeks, said leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan are among the nations eager for progress in resolving the conflict, the Washington Post reported.
The newspaper interviewed Blair at his 10 Downing Street Office.
"This is an opportunity for us if we are prepared to seize it now," Blair said.
He said British officials were holding talks with the U.S. and Middle East governments, but declined to discuss specifics.
Blair said he told the Iraq Study Group, a U.S. advisory panel reviewing strategy for the Iraq war, that progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was essential for any solution in Iraq.
Blair spoke to the panel by video conference on Tuesday.
"Israel-Palestine is the one issue that, unresolved, allows extremists to gain purchase on the more moderate elements of the Muslim and Arab world," he said.
Blair said the next few months are critical in resolving the conflict.
"So we either decide that we are going to take this moment and use it to drive forward or obviously there's a danger that the whole region takes a wrong turn," he said.
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