Date
20 September 2017
Former British prime minister Tony Blair said Russia remains a powerful player in the Middle East. Photo: AFP
Former British prime minister Tony Blair said Russia remains a powerful player in the Middle East. Photo: AFP

West must work with Putin in fighting Islamists: Blair

Former British prime minister Tony Blair urged Western nations to cooperate with Russian President Vladimir Putin in fighting Islamist extremism, which he calls “the largest long-term security threat we face”, even as they condemn Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“Russia remains a powerful player, and in certain areas including the Middle East at the present time they are an important component of how we deal with these challenges,” Blair was quoted as saying in an interview in Brussels on Tuesday. 

He said the West must cooperate not only with Moscow but also other countries such as China and India to confront the Islamists.

Blair said he was more worried about the Israel-Palestinian situation than at any time since he took over his role as special Middle East envoy in 2007.

Moves in Europe to recognize the state of Palestine was “an expression of the frustration people feel at the absence of progress and also the anxiety people feel about the treatment of Palestinians”, he said.

He said it would be sensible for Israel to take that into account.

On the European Union, Blair said the worry now is no longer the collapse of the euro because the European Central Bank could effectively prevent that.

The risk is “that the political consent for the European project fractures as a result of low growth, high unemployment and social dislocation”, he said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

RA/CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe