A spokesman for international Middle East envoy Tony Blair says the
former British prime minister has canceled his trip to the Gaza Strip
because of a security threat.
Mr. Blair was to tour an
internationally-funded waste water treatment plant in the north of the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and meet with United Nations and other
But his spokesman says a "specific
security threat" would have made it irresponsible to proceed with the
trip. He did not elaborate on the threat, but he said Mr. Blair hopes
to visit the coastal territory at a later date.
Israeli authorities confirmed they had alerted Mr. Blair to a security threat before his arrival.
officials Tuesday dismissed reports of a threat and accused Israel of
pressuring Mr. Blair into canceling the trip. The officials said they
had made appropriate security preparations for Mr. Blair's visit.
Blair's trip would have marked the first visit of a top Western
diplomat to Gaza since the Palestinian militant group Hamas seized
control of the territory from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's
forces last year. Mr. Blair was not scheduled to meet with any Hamas
representatives during his trip.
Mr. Blair is an envoy for the
Middle East Quartet of international peace brokers. The Quartet
includes the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.