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Tony Blair launches private Middle East peace mission

Former prime minister Tony Blair has launched a new initiative to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace as a private citizen.

Mr Blair's announcement comes months after he stepped down as an international Middle East envoy. He said his experience and network of contacts made during eight years of diplomacy in the region will help him.

He said his efforts will include promoting a 2002 Arab initiative that offered a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel, working to improve the Palestinian economy and trying to end a split that has left the Palestinians torn between two rival governments.

Mr Blair told reporters in Jerusalem that "there are so many things that could happen in this region of a positive nature".

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