Mideast peace talk leaks destabilising: Blair

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Middle East envoy Tony Blair said Friday he believed the leak of hundreds of documents on the Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations was "destabilising".

"I think it is hard to tell right now but its intention was to be extremely damaging," Blair told the BBC from the world economic forum in Davos, after being asked about the leaks to the Al-Jazeera television station.

Citing one of his successes when he was Britain's prime minister, he said: "We couldn't have done the Northern Ireland peace process if the entire time everything was being put out there, with frankly a pretty severe spin on it.

"So I think it is destabilising for the Palestinians.

"However, I think we have just got to be big enough and strong enough to say 'OK, look, whatever Al-Jazeera are putting out, we are just going to get on with making peace'."

The leak of more than 1,600 documents has shaken the Palestinian Authority, revealing that it offered Israel far-reaching concessions on the sensitive subjects of Jerusalem and refugees during peace talks.

In the West Bank, demonstrators have offered their support for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, but in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, protests have been held criticising Abbas for "collaborating" with Israel.

Blair was Britain's prime minister between 1997 and 2007 and is currently envoy for the Middle East diplomatic Quartet of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.

© 2011 AFP

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