Bush wants Blair as Quartet envoy to Middle East – reports


London : The Bush Administration has held talking with outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to become a special envoy to the Middle East, representing the "Quartet" of US, EU, UN and Russia, it was reported Thursday.

According to the BBC, it was told by two senior White House officials that Blair's aides indicated he is interested in the role after he steps down from power next week.

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Both Israeli regime and some Palestinians were said to have also signed up to the reported proposal.

"It looks like this is going to be Tony Blair's next job and it looks like Tony Blair wants this job," BBC's Jonathan Beale said, "That is the message I am getting from officials in Washington".

But Britain's shadow foreign secretary William Hague said that he did not think it was a good idea as the prime minister was a controversial figure in the Middle East.

Hague was quoted saying that he thought ministers should be used as envoys and criticized Blair for appointing Lord Levy as his envoy for the Middle East as he was unaccountable to parliament.

According to the Washington Post, the idea was first proposed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and that the focus of the envoy would be limited to the internal workings of a future Palestinian state.

The reports come after al-Jazeera TV news network also said Blair was set to take up the position, which has been vacant since former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn resigned the post in April 2006.

The Arab news channel reported that high-ranking American officials had been in London to discuss the possible role with Blair.