Bush wants Blair as envoy to West Asia | world | Hindustan Times
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Bush wants Blair as envoy to West Asia

US President George Bush reportedly wants British PM Tony Blair to play the role of special envoy to West Asia after he leaves 10 Downing Street, reports Vijay Dutt.

world Updated: Jun 22, 2007 06:32 IST
Vijay Dutt

United States’ President George Bush reportedly wants British Prime Minister Tony Blair to play the role of special envoy to West Asia after he leaves 10 Downing Street, a part-time assignment that should suit Blair just fine.

And, if he does take on the responsibility, Blair may very well be successful in bringing warring factions in West Asia to the negotiating table. The Prime Minister’s ability to broker pacts became evident when he stitched together an alliance against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

A Labour MP told the Hindustan Times that Bush was keen to help his ally and close confidant Tony Blair get an assignment that would give him international eminence. “Bush knows that Blair took all the flak at home, lost his popularity and is leaving premiership midway because he gave unflinching support to the U.S. war in Iraq,” the MP said.

Reports, however, differ on who actually took the initiative. One report, quoting a White House source, said Blair had spoken to Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about becoming special envoy. But another source said that it was Bush who extended the offer.

So far, Blair has maintained that he is very busy and has “no idea” what he will do after leaving office. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman has said that there was lots of speculation over Blair’s future, much of it “inaccurate”.

But Blair is known to be interested in taking on a variety of roles on the world stage, particularly ones involving efforts to broker peace in West Asia, helping in the fight against poverty in Africa and containing global warming.

Standing ovation

Tony Blair was given a standing ovation by his government colleagues at the end of a “farewell” Cabinet meeting on Thursday and presented with a print of the British Prime Minister's country residence, Chequers, as a parting gift.

In an emotional, hour-long farewell Cabinet meeting, Tony Blair promised "unswerving support" for Gordon Brown as Prime Minister.

"It is the right moment to go," Blair told the Cabinet. Providing details of the meeting, Downing Street said that Brown told Blair that his future achievements would be on account of "standing on your [Blair’s] shoulders".