The United States is pressing former Prime Minister Tony Blair to become a special envoy to the Middle East

The United States is pressing former Prime Minister Tony Blair to become a special envoy to the Middle East, representing the diplomatic “quartet” of world powers. The appointment would be the most visible attempt at laying the groundwork for a Palestinian state since President Bill Clinton wrangled with Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak during the waning hours of the administration in 2001.

If the proposal, endorsed by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, goes forward, and if Blair accepts, he would work on behalf of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia to help the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, build the institutions and apparatus necessary for a visible state.

European and American officials said that so far, the only grumbling about the possible Blair appointment has come from Russia, which has had contentious relations with Britain of late, including the charges regarding the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic said that if Blair wanted the job, it was unlikely that Russia would seek to block the appointment. But British officials said Blair had not yet decided if he would take on task, and bristled that public comments from Bush administration were premature. It remains unclear how broad Blair’s role would be. American and Israeli officials said want him to focus primarily on shoring up Palestinian institutions and governance, economic development and security issues on the West Bank.

Blair’s appointment would also be an ironic footnote to the end of his 10 years of stewardship of Britain, given that his support of bush and the war in Iraq hurt him politically at home. But his close relationship with Bush is part of the reason why Bush wants Blair to take envoy’s role. On the other hand, Blair is still wrestling with the perception that his American friend is pressing him too hard at a time when Blair is thinking about his own political legacy.


1. What would be the purpose of Tony Blair’s appointment as a special envoy to the Middle East?
A. To boost the economy in the Middle East.
B. To improve the strained relations between George W. Bush and Mahmoud Abbas.
C. To assist Mahmoud Abbas with establishing Palestinian institutions and governance.
D. To increase the influence of the world powers in the Middle East.

2. According to the text, Russia
A. is enthusiastic about Tony Blair’s new mission in the Middle East.
B. would hardly make an attempt to prevent Tony Blair from receiving the new post.
C. would urge Tony Blair to focus on making the Palestinian institutions more efficient.
D. does not blame Britain for Litvinenko’s death.

3. Which of the following statements about Tony Blair is NOT true?
A. He is not concerned about his own political legacy at all.
B. The war in Iraq has damaged his reputation in the UK.
C. He is not sure if he will accept the job in the Middle East.
D. He is a good friend of George W. Bush.

4. What does the text predict about Tony Blair’s appointment?
A. It would be the triumph of his political career.
B. It would put an end of his support for Bush.
C. It would free him from Bush’s political influence altogether.
D. It would strengthen his uneasiness about Bush’s authoritarian attitude to him.

Няма коментари:

Публикуване на коментар