According to the Irish prime minister, Tony Blair has agreed to serve the quartet — the U.S., the U.N., the EU and Russia — as a special envoy to the Mideast. Earlier reports suggested that Blair bristled at the limited scope of the position, but an aide says the outgoing British prime minister was eager to take the job and continue to work on the world stage.


Mr Ahern told Irish state broadcasters RTE that Mr Blair had already accepted the appointment as Middle East envoy.

“I spoke to him about this on Friday night when he told me that he was going to take it – until then it had been speculation – so I can tell you that’s exactly what he’s going to do,” he said on Wednesday.

“He believes if you have hands-on, persistent engagement then you can have real progress.”

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