LONDON, May 27 (UPI) — Tony Blair announced Wednesday he will leave his role as a Middle East envoy, sending his resignation to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In 2007, immediately after leaving his position as British Prime Minister, Blair joined the Quartet, a diplomatic bloc seeking peace in the Middle East, in particular between Israel and Palestine, comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Its actions made the group a code word for sluggish, uninspired diplomacy.
Blair’s resignation comes as chances for a two-state solution involving Israel and Palestine are at their lowest in years. While Palestinians initially hailed the appointment of a high-profile figure, Blair was soon seen as too accommodating to the Israelis.
He has also been seen as having too many Middle East business activities, with clients including the Saudi oil company PetroSaudi and the Abu Dhabi financial management firm Mubadala, suggesting a conflict of interest with his diplomacy. Criticism of his credibility and value to the cause of peace has increased in recent months.
In 2014 a group of political analysts marked his seventh anniversary with the Quartet by declaring his achievements negligible, and there were calls from governments in Africa and the Middle East, as well as in Britain, for his resignation.