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Blair Says Two-State Solution to Israel-Palestinian Conflict is Top Priority


Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the absolute priority in the Middle East is reaching a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr. Blair is expected to be named an envoy to the region on behalf of the "quartet" of Middle East mediators.

Making his last appearance as prime minister before the House of Commons, Mr. Blair said he believes it is possible to achieve a two-state solution but that it will require "a huge intensity of focus and work."

On Tuesday, the European Union representative to the international quartet on Middle East peace said the group has not yet offered Mr. Blair the post as special Middle East envoy.

But quartet officials say they expect to make a statement Wednesday.

The quartet - made up of diplomats from the U.S., Russia, the U.N., and the European Union - met Tuesday in Jerusalem to consider Mr. Blair as special envoy.

The quartet issued a "road map" to Israeli-Palestinian peace in 2003. Little progress has been made on its implementation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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