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Kazakhstan Says It's Hired Blair As Consultant

Tony Blair speaks at the Foreign Investors Council in Astana on May 18.
Kazakhstan says it has hired former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as an economic consultant.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Altai Abibbulaev told reporters that Blair was one of several foreign officials who have "responded to the invitation of the government of Kazakhstan to provide advice on economic policy, on issues of public administration and international politics."

Presidential aide Yermukhamet Yertysbaev told the French AFP news agency that Blair would probably deal with "the question of social-economic modernization" of the energy-rich Central Asian state.

Britain's "The Daily Telegraph" quoted a spokesman for Blair as saying the former prime minister had "helped put together a team of international advisers," denying he was making any "personal profit."

Blair has been the envoy of the Middle East Quartet.

compiled from agency reports