Last updated: 1 September, 2012

Blair holds Cairo talks on Middle East difficulties

Quartet envoy Tony Blair met Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil in Cairo on Saturday for talks on the “difficulties” facing the Middle East peace process, MENA state news agency said.

The former British prime minister was also scheduled to hold discussions with Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr during his brief visit, it said.

Qandil told Blair of the “difficulties and obstacles facing the political process between the Palestinians and Israelis,” according to the Egyptian agency.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been on hold since September 2010. Efforts by the peacemaking Quartet — which groups the European Union, United Nations, United States and Russia — have failed to break the impasse.

Under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt acted as a mediator between the Palestinians and Israelis, and between the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas.

Egypt’s new Islamist President Mohamed Morsi has warned he will be tougher with Israel than his predecessor, but he would respect the 1979 peace treaty between his country and the Jewish state.