Blair says time running out for Mideast peace

Published June 19, 2013

| AFP

Time is running out for the Middle East peace process, which must move forward or face total failure, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday.

"The window of opportunity will be open for only a short space of time," he said, speaking in Jerusalem at the 2013 Presidential Conference, hosted by Israel's President Shimon Peres.

"Let's hope that over the coming weeks a plan can be put in place in which politics, economics and security are aligned. With (US) Secretary (of State) John Kerry's fantastic energy and commitment, we're all working hard to accomplish this," Blair told delegates.

Kerry has visited the region four times since taking office in February in a bid to push Palestinian and Israeli leaders to return to talks, which broke down shortly after they were launched in September 2010.

"But we should understand, the window of opportunity will be open for only a short space of time. We must go through it together. If not the window will close again and could even close forever," Blair warned.

"Time is not our friend. This is urgent. This is now. And it is a time for statesman, not politicians."

Former US president Bill Clinton, whom Peres welcomed as "my dearest friend" was also to speak during the morning.

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