Tony Blair visit to the United Arab Emirates

Placeholder. British Prime Minister Tony Blair went to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday to tap members of the ruling family for ideas to revive an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The stop is the final leg of a Middle East tour that began in Turkey and went to Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Blair sees the UAE as part of the "moderate" Middle East that he is urging to unite against the threat from "extremists". "It's only on the basis of an alliance of moderation against extremism that we will make our world better," he told students, mostly in black headscarves and tunics, at a women's university.

He arrived from Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas he would try to deliver an international aid package before new elections.

Abbas called an early election after he failed to form a national unity government with a Hamas-led government, which is boycotted by the West.

Blair told the students the most important thing today is to create a "global culture based on global values and based on recognition that although we have different faiths, we actually share the same God and the same values".

The UAE is holding its first national poll but voting is severely restricted. Only 6,689 people out of 800,000 UAE nationals can vote and a little more than 1,000 are women.
British officials have called the elections a "tentative but welcome step" towards democratic reform.

Source: Reuters

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