Former UK Prime Minister is reportedly looking to open an office in Abu Dhabi despite recent calls for Tony Blair to quit as Middle East peace envoy.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Blair is looking to establish an office in the UAE in a bid to “expand his role as a behind-the-scenes business and political broker in the Middle East”.
Blair has strong ties to the UAE, in particular Abu Dhabi, where he has close relationship with the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and has a contract to advise the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala. In 2009, he was awarded a contract to help to reform the Kuwaiti prime minister’s office, but the project was closed down in 2012.
Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours, a scathing letter signed by former British ambassadors and politicians has called for Blair to quit his role as Middle East envoy. The contents of the letter, signed by former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, accuses Blair of trying to “absolve himself” of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.
“We believe that Mr Blair, as a vociferous advocate of the invasion, must accept a degree of responsibility for its consequences”, the letter says.
The letter was addressed to foreign ministers in the US, Russia, and EU, as well was UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
A spokesperson for Blair’s office dismissed the letter, saying: “These are all people viscerally opposed to Tony Blair with absolutely no credibility in relation to him whatsoever.”