Blair and Abbas meet in Jordan

Feb. 11, 2012 at 8:06 PM

AMMAN, Jordan, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Saturday with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair before heading to Cairo for an Arab League summit.

Blair is now a special envoy to the Middle East representing the Quartet -- the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia. He told Abbas he has urged Israel to take steps to show goodwill in its discussions with the Palestinian Authority, including easing security restrictions in the West Bank and releasing prisoners, WAFA, the Palestinian News and Information Agency reported.

"Mr. Blair re-affirmed to President Abbas the commitment of the Quartet and the international community to the peace process and the need to launch credible and serious negotiations in order to reach the two-state solution," his office said in a statement.

Abbas has said he would not make a final decision on continuing discussions with Israel until after the Arab League meeting, which begins Sunday. Both sides blame each other for the apparent collapse of the last round of talks, with Israel saying Palestinian leaders set an artificial deadline and the authority saying Israel failed to put a specific proposal on the table.

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