PARLIAMENT & POLITICS: Middle East Talks - Blair Offers Sharon Help in Search for Peace
Marie Woolf Chief Political Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
TONY BLAIR held a meeting on the Middle East crisis with Ariel Sharon yesterday, who briefed him on his talks in Washington.
The Israeli Prime Minister, calling at Downing Street on his way back from discussions with the American President, George Bush, is believed to have told Mr Blair that he supports the creation of a Palestinian state but only after Palestinian attacks on Israelis have completely ended.
Mr Blair stressed that he wanted to see "an early restart to the political process" and his "determination to do all he could to help".
The hour-long meeting at Downing Street took place shortly after an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy were killed in a fresh outbreak of violence.
A Downing Street spokesman said the talks had been "useful and constructive". He added that "both Prime Ministers agreed to keep in close contact".
Mr Sharon told Mr Blair he had received firm backing from Mr Bush, who expressed his support for Israel's "right to defend herself". …