Tony Blair has held secret talks with the leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas in a bid to secure a peace deal with Israel.
The former prime minister met Khaled Meshaal in the Qatari capital, Doha, on two separate occasions over recent weeks, it emerged today.
Mr Blair, who resigned as the Middle East peace envoy in May, was allegedly acting as a go-between to win peace guarantees from Hamas in exchange for the Israeli government lifting its blockade on the Gaza Strip.
As the official representative in the Middle East for the ‘Quartet’ of world powers – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – Mr Blair was barred from meeting Hamas officials.
Hamas has doggedly refused to accept the group’s principles of a negotiated peace between Israel and Palestine – because it recognises the state of Israel and calls for an end to violence.
But since resigning three months ago, Mr Blair has held secret talks with the militant leader Mr Meshaal – with the second meeting just last week, according to the Times.