The Palestine Papers
NSU Memo Re: Background for Meeting Between Mahmoud Abbas and Tony Blair

Memorandum from NSU to Kassissieh regarding "Status and Background for Meeting between President Abbas and Quartet Envoy Tony Blair," dated February 6, 2008. The memo discusses: overview and status of NSU work with Blair's team on "Quick Impact Projects" as well as key and specific points for President Abbas to raise (developments in Area C; Gaza).

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to:  Issa Kassissieh

from:  negotiations support unit

subject: status and background for meeting between President Abbas and QuarteT Envoy Tony Blair

date:  6 February 2008


Overview and status of NSU work with Blair team on “Quick Impact Projects”   

Blair?s team met on four occasions with the NSU to review the proposed projects. Blair?s team agreed to meet and coordinate on a monthly basis going forward to ensure the projects  are in accord with Palestinian permanent status interests.


Although some of the projects have been approved by the Office of the Prime Minister (at least the projects listed in the PDRP), the details and implementation of the projects have not been fully vetted to ensure that permanent status interests are being respected.  


The NSU raised these concerns with Blair?s team verbally and highlighted the issues in a detailed written memorandum to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Office of the President.


Key  point for President Abbas to raise:


Tony Blair?s predecessor, Envoy James Wolfensohn, was on the right track in focusing on Israel?s implementation of the AMA and by adopting a comprehensive approach to economic recovery as a means to attain security. Implementation of the AMA, particularly with respect to the closure regime in the West Bank, continues to be essential for the success of the projects Blair?s team is proposing.  


A key part of Tony Blair?s role should be to use the weight of his office to ensure Israel abides by existing agreements. It is not necessary for the Envoy to engage in a creative process of devising new agreements and new access and movement arrangements.  Israel must be persuaded to respect the AMA and Mr. Blair?s persuasive abilities precede his reputation. The Palestinian people are counting on Mr. Blair?s  good offices to exert the necessary pressure.


Specific points to raise:


Development in Areas C is of critical importance for the Palestinian interest and must be a priority in the pursuit of the projects proposed.


It is positive that Gaza is on the Blair team agenda. It should be made a priority by any available means.