(JNS.org) Former British prime minister Tony Blair will be stepping down from his position as special envoy of the Middle East Quartet.
The Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union, was established in 2002 during the height of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising) and has a stated mission of working to support of the Palestinian people “as they build the institutions and economy of a viable and peaceful state in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Blair, who served as British prime minister from 1997-2007, has served as special envoy since stepping down as the U.K.’s leader. According to sources, Blair had felt the position was “limited” to only supporting the Palestinians and had a number of “political constraints.”
Blair will now “concentrate on strengthening relations between Israel and the wider Arab world,” which he hopes can “underpin international efforts to end the ongoing impasse in the peace process,” the BBC reported.