Focus on Middle East Quartet policy, rather than Tony Blair

Focus on Middle East Quartet policy, rather than Tony Blair

As discussions over the future of Israel and Palestine resumes in Brussels this weekend, attention has once again turned towards the role of the Quartet on the Middle East, the collectivity of nations and international and supranational bodies involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Quartet comprises the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. The group was established in Madrid in 2002, recalling the Madrid Conference of 1991.

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair is the Quartet's current Special Envoy, having taken up the role in 2007. He has become an increasingly controversial figure, not least after his 24 August 2011 speech attacking a campaign of "delegitimisation" against Israel by proponents of the Palestinians. Many feel that he is no longer fit to be counted an 'honest broker' in the fraught peace process.

International lawyer, regional expert, Oslo Accords negotiator and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian was recently interviewed by Al Jazeera television in English, commenting on the complex issues involved - and urging concentration on Quartet policies and practical steps towards a just peace, rather than too much attention towards Mr Blair, who is and ought to be a servant rather than director of the process.

A news package followed by the interview (which starts at 3' 10") is now available through Ekklesia, with grateful acknowledgment to Al Jazeera, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0MQnlw0Mn0

Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, ecumenist and EU political consultant. He also acts as a Middle East and inter-faith advisor to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales and as Middle East consultant to ACEP (Christians in Politics) in Paris. He is an Ekklesia associate and regular contributor (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/HarryHagopian). Formerly an Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Committee and Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches, he is now an international fellow, Sorbonne III University, Paris, consultant to the Campaign for Recognition of the Armenian Genocide (UK) and author of The Armenian Church in the Holy Land. Dr Hagopian’s own website is www.epektasis.net

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