Former British Prime Minister Blair launches private initiative to promote Mideast peace

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he is ready to jump back into the difficult world of Mideast peace-making.

Months after stepping down as an international Mideast envoy, Blair said Friday he is launching a new initiative to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace as a private citizen. He says his experience and network of contacts made during eight years of Mideast diplomacy will help him.

He says his efforts will include promoting a 2002 Arab initiative that offered a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel, working to improve the Palestinian economy and trying to end a split that has left the Palestinians torn between two rival governments.

He told reporters in Jerusalem that "there are so many things that could happen in this region of a positive nature."