Tony Blair steps down as Middle East peace envoy

Will the region actually be better off?

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is stepping down as Middle East peace envoy, his office has confirmed.

After almost eight years in the role, he is stepping down amid criticism over his business interests in the region and poor relations with Palestinian Authority figures, according to the Financial Times.

We first wrote about the news back in March, but this is the confirmation we have been waiting for from Blair’s office.

He first took up the post in 2007 after leaving the House of Commons but meanwhile has earned millions from a lucrative public speaking career.

A controversial appointment even before he started the role as peace envoy, Blair has presided over one of the most violent periods in centuries of trouble in the Middle East and has left at a point where almost every country in the region is involved in conflict in some way.

He’s visited Israel more than 100 times during his time as Middle East peace envoy, while visiting Gaza less than five times, according to his own office.

He was as unpopular with those he worked alongside as he was with the general public it seems too.

A former US government official told the Telegraph: “All sides just rolled their eyes at the mention of his name.”

During a round of peace negotiations in 2013, which eventually broke down, Blair was supposed to work alongside US secretary of state John Kerry. During this period he became a “standing joke”, the former senior official said.

“He showed up, but was not effective,” he added. “Honestly, when the Kerry negotiations were going on, it was like he’d wait until Kerry was going to be in the region and show up at the same time and then do press releases. It was sort of unseemly.”

According to the FT, a person close to the Obama administration said in March: “Tony Blair is neither an asset nor a liability but his current role is no longer viable.”

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