Ex-U.K. diplomats call on Tony Blair to step down as Mideast envoy
In open letter, signatories argue that Blair is responsible for Iraq crisis and call his achievements on Israeli-Palestinian conflict 'negligible.'
Former UK diplomats and politicians as well as several prominent academics have signed an open letter calling on Tony Blair to be removed as Middle East peace envoy, British media outlets reported.
The letter, organized by makers of MP George Galloway's film 'The Killing of Tony Blair' and addressed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, claims Blair's achievements in the region are "negligible" and accuse him of shirking responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.
Signatories on the letter include Blair's former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, former London mayor Ken Livingstone, Noam Chomsky, and Israeli professor Ilan Pappe.
The letter argues that the Blair-led 2003 invasion of Iraq is responsible for the rise of "fundamentalist terrorism" in the country and accuses him of misleading the British people into the war. They claim that his identification with the war in Iraq makes him the wrong person for the job. They also criticize his efforts to bolster the Palestinian economy while avoiding the real issue, which is the occupation.
The letter also accuses Blair of lacking transparency in his business pursuits, due to a blurring of lines between his public role as envoy and his private investment interests with Tony Blair Associates.
‘Tony Blair should no longer be allowed to speak for the EU on the Middle East and someone else found for helping Palestine without his past record and crusading messianic fervour,’ former Conservative prisons minister Crispin Blunt was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying.
A spokesperson for Blair responded that all those signed onto the letter are from the "hard right" and hard left" who are "viscerally opposed" to him and averse to his approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which believes in a two-state solution that can only be achieved in negotiation with Israel.
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