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Blair says Mideast Cease-Fire Elements in Place - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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CAIRO, Egypt, (AP) – Special Mideast envoy Tony Blair says elements are in place for a cease-fire to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

The former British prime minister was speaking Monday from Cairo, where he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak following meetings in Israel.

He says that “the elements of an agreement” for a cease-fire “are there,” adding that they are being worked on “very hard.”

Blair is the Middle East envoy for the U.S., EU, Russia and the U.N., the four countries known as the Quartet supervising the Middle East peace process.

He says that any plan to end fighting must also halt weapons smuggling to Hamas and open Gaza’s borders.

Israel attacked the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27 to end rocket fire by Hamas. Some 870 Palestinians have died so far.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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