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Blair: Middle East deal possible ‘within the year’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Tony Blair said an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is possible "within the year."

In an interview with British journalist David Frost scheduled to air Friday, the former British prime minister and current Quartet envoy to the Middle East said that in order to achieve such a deal everyone must "commit themselves to a peaceful political negotiation to a two-state solution," according to media reports.

"If President Obama gets the right partner, on the Israeli side but also on the Palestinian side, his determination to do this I have no doubt about at all," he said, adding that there is a "great sense of hope and expectation" in the region after Obama’s speech in Cairo earlier this month.

Blair also called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu’s speech earlier this week "a step forward," adding "and now we’ve got to wait and see what happens."

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