Naming of Quartet envoy signals EU’s bid to restart peace process


(JTA) — Italian negotiator Fernando Gentilini will be the envoy to the Middle East Quartet as the European Union eyes relaunching the peace process.

The appointment of Gentilini as the EU’s special representative to the Middle East, which includes responsibilities as the Quartet envoy, was announced Monday by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels.

The announcement comes a day after the London-based Financial Times reported that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair would step back as the Quartet’s representative to the region dealing with economic development of the Palestinians. The Quartet is the diplomatic grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations guiding the Middle East peace process.

Blair has held the post for eight years.

“Tony Blair’s responsibility focused on supporting the economic development of Palestinians,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels. “This is not the main focus we have. The main focus we have is the launch of the peace process.”

Gentilini has served as the EU representative to Kosovo.

CORRECTION: This originally stated in the headline and story that Fernando Gentilini would be replacing Tony Blair as the Quartet envoy dealing with the peace process. Gentilini reportedly will be dealing with the relaunching of the process; Blair’s role is dealing with the economic development of the Palestinians.

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