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Middle East

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

10. What recent discussions he has had with Quartet representative, Tony Blair, on Gaza and the middle east road map. (204804)

We met on 1 and 2 May to talk about the middle east peace process and discuss the situation in Gaza. The ad hoc liaison committee meeting in London kicked off a critical six to eight week period for the middle east peace process, and it is vital that the practical progress in the negotiations is matched by improvement of the situation on the ground.

Is it not clear that without an improvement in the economic and humanitarian conditions within Gaza, we are not going to see any lasting chances of peace in the near future? Surely the road map is coming to the end of its life and we should reappraise it so that we can work with our EU partners and the Quartet to bring some lasting chances of peace to the region.

I entirely agree that the humanitarian situation in Gaza needs to be improved, but I plead with the hon. Gentleman not to start throwing out the road map and the Annapolis process now. This is a critical six to eight week period. President Bush is, I think, going to the region tomorrow, the Bethlehem investors conference is taking place the week after next, and the Germans are taking a lead on security sector reform to support the Palestinian Authority. For seven years, we have not had a process: now we have one, for goodness’ sake, let us not lose it at this stage.