The Quartet of Mid-East peace mediators has sat down for the first time since Gaza was seized by radical Islamist group, Hamas. They also had their new special envoy at the table in Lisbon. Tony Blair said he believed the long-frozen peace talks could be given new life: “This is a very clear situation to me; there is a vision that has been set out, again by President Bush this week, but that is shared by the whole of the international community. And that is for two states: Israel confident of its security, and a viable Palestinian state.
“There is a sense that we can regain momentum, that is the crucial thing and if we are able to regain that momentum then a whole lot of things become possible.” The former British Prime Minister’s task is to help Palestinians develop their institutions and revive their economy. Blair has said he is happy with the brief given to him by the Quartet, made up of the US, Russia, the UN and the European Union. Some diplomats believe he’ll want to put his energy into a more direct peacekeeping role.