Talks with Tony Blair on Middle East peace
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr yesterday held talks with Quartet Representative Tony Blair in Jerusalem, to reinforce Australian support for a negotiated two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
The Quartet comprises the United Nations, United States, Russia and the EU, and aims to achieve an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bring stability to the Middle East.
“There can be no peace in this conflict without negotiations on a two-state solution with agreed national borders,” Senator Carr said.
“This was my message in discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in recent days, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“And it was my message [yesterday] in talks with Tony Blair.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that progress can be made.
“Israeli and Palestinian leaders have expressed in principle support for negotiations, in my discussions and in their talks with Mr Blair.
“I think all Australians would wish Mr Blair well in his continued efforts to bring Israel and Palestinians together and to deliver an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.”
Australia is a major contributor to assistance for the Palestinian people with more than $300 million over five years to support the Palestinian Authority and United Nations agencies in delivering health, education and improved living standards in the Palestinian Territories.