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News UK Diplomats slam Blair on Mid-East

  1. Apr 26, 2004 #1
    The new Spanish Minister of Defense called Blair an imbecile, but 50 former British diplomats do that also, but in a more (unprecedented) diplomatic way.

    Diplomats slam Blair on Mid-East

    More than 50 former British diplomats have signed a letter to Tony Blair criticising his Middle East policy.


    The 52 ambassadors said it was time for the prime minister to start influencing America's "doomed" policy in the Middle East or stop backing it.

    They told Mr Blair they had "watched with deepening concern" as Britain followed the US lead in Iraq and Israel and called for a debate in Parliament.

    No 10 said Mr Blair would be replying to the letter in due course.

    The spokesman said the prime minister rejected the idea of a "score card" of influence between himself and President Bush.

    The diplomats, among them former ambassadors to Baghdad and Tel Aviv, believe their attack is unprecedented in scope and scale.

    One of the people behind the letter, former British ambassador to Libya Oliver Miles said: "A number of us felt that our opinion on these two subjects, Iraq and the Arab-Israel problem, were pretty widely shared and we thought that we ought to make them public."

    On Iraq he added: ""We do think that through lack of planning and through a misunderstanding, a misreading of the situation, we have got ourselves into an extremely difficult situation."

    The prime minister is urged to sway US policy in the Middle East as "a matter of the highest urgency".

    "We feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in Parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment," said the letter, sent to Reuters.

    The document's co-ordinator Mr Miles said they did not intend to damage Mr Blair politically but simply wanted to make their voice heard.

    BBC News Online's World Affairs Correspondent Paul Reynolds said: "The list of names includes many former ambassadors in the Middle East and the publication of the letter shows that their frustration at Iraqi and Middle East policy has broken into the open.

    "The views expressed are widely felt by officials in the Foreign Office though they are not shared by the prime minister or the foreign secretary."

    The 52 diplomats urged Mr Blair to use his alliance with Mr Bush to exert "real influence as a loyal ally... If that is unacceptable or unwelcome, there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure."

    Mr Blair has been a staunch ally to US president George W Bush in pursuing the war in Iraq.

    The ambassadors accuse the US-led coalition of having "no effective plan" for Iraq after the war and an apparent disregard for the lives of Iraqi civilians.

    They said Mr Blair had "merely waited" for the US to advance a "road map" for peace that had raised expectations of a lasting Israeli-Palestinian settlement.


    They condemn Mr Bush's decision to endorse an Israeli plan to retain some settlements in the West Bank as an illegal and one-sided step - and criticise Mr Blair's public support for the move.

    "Our dismay at this backward step is heightened by the fact that you yourself seem to have endorsed it, abandoning the principles which for nearly four decades have guided international efforts to restore peace in the Holy Land," the diplomats said.

    They urged Mr Blair to act urgently to challenge the UK's portrayal as a partner in US policies condemned by the Arab and Muslim world.

    Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said the Mr Blair should listen to the advice of the former diplomats.

    "This is a most remarkable intervention in the debate about the Middle East from a group of people who are almost certainly the most expert in Britain on the issue," he said."


    Now this indicates also what these professional British diplomats think about Mr. Bush and his Mid-East policy.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2004 #2
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