Following Tony Blair’s announcement that he was stepping down from his role as Middle East peace envoy earlier this week, aides close to him say that Blair is planning to take up the role of an unofficial liaison point between Israel and the Arab world.
A source close to the former Labour leader said: “He wants to build stronger relations between Israel and the wider Arab world, drawing on the relationships he has in the region.”
He intends to “remain active” in the region but “without any formal role”.
His resignation follows speculation from the Financial Times on March 15, which claimed Blair was looking to step back from his role, and had been looking at alternative options in the run up to the Israeli election.
In his potential role as a bridge-builder between Israel and its Arabic neighbors, Blair will attempt to ease tensions in an area where many countries have no diplomatic relations with Israel.
Israel is currently trying to form an anti-Iranian alliance in the area during the build-up to a highly anticipated global nuclear deal with the country, which has instilled fear among Gulf States.
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has often referred to Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States as the “responsible countries in the region.”
Blair’s role in the Quartet Group was largely focused on growing the Palestinian economy, but the former PM has held discussions with the US Secretary of State John Kerry over the possibility of extending his role in the region.
The post has not yet been officially announced, but a source told the Times that Blair’s work with the Israeli’s needed “a different approach.”
“He wants to build stronger relations between Israel and the wider Arab world, drawing on the relationships he has in the region.”
The role may further blur the boundaries between Blair’s business interests and political duties.
He has previously worked with the Kuwaiti government, and his consultancy firm won a contract in 2009 to advise Abu Dhabi’s wealth fund Mubadala.
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