Tony Blair And Ernesto Zedillo Discuss Global Crises

Israeli/Palestinean conflict at an impasse, says Blair.

Diane Orson
Tony Blair And Ernesto Zedillo Discuss Global Crises
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
Tony Blair And Ernesto Zedillo Discuss Global Crises

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo spoke Monday at Yale University.  They discussed global crises facing world leaders.  

Much of the discussion centered on the Middle East and the Israeli/Palestinean conflict. 

Tony Blair is a peace envoy to the region.  

"I actually have just come back from my 90th visit to Jerusalem since leaving office, although as my wife said to me its not actually the number of visits you make, it’s the progress that counts,  which I didn’t think was remarkably supportive if I may say so."

Blair says things are currently at an impasse.

"I think there is a danger that we from the outside keep thinking conventionally about this whereas there has literally been a revolution in the region", ...which he says has altered key relationships between countries. 

Ernesto Zedillo talked about the need for diplomatic engagement with Iran.  

"And I think you need that for two reasons. One,  you don’t want to have a nuclear weapon Iran. But you don’t want to have something outrageous done to stop that."

There was also discussion about the civil war in Syria. Blair says most Western policymakers agree that President Bashar al-Assad must go, but they’ve resisted intervening because they’re unclear what will happen next.

Blair says inside Syria now are proxies for outside powers.  

"Syria is no longer a place where its just the question of the internal Syrian opposition fighting the Syrian government. You’ve got huge amounts of outside money, weapons and all the rest of it coming into this battlefield. So disentangling it is going to be very difficult."

Back here in the US, Zedillo said President Obama’s current negotiations over the fiscal cliff are a defining moment.  

"This is the moment of truth to give this country a viable, sustainable program to recover its economic vigor."

Yale President Richard Levin hosted the forum before about 1,100 students and faculty. 

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.