Monday, November 05, 2007

EU seeks mediating role in Mideast conflict

Foreign ministers from Israel and the Palestinian territories are holding talks with EU officials during a two-day conference in Lisbon. The foreign ministers will talk separately with senior European Union in Lisbon at the 9th Euro-Mediterranean Conference which runs until Tuesday, Nov. 6. Discussions are expected to focus on the Middle East peace process.
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"After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. "
Daniel 7

The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was set up in 1995 under Solana and aims on establishing a common area of peace and security and works toward enhancing cooperation between the EU and 10 of its southern neighbors.
(When Christopher Warren reported Clinton about the astonishing negotiating abilities of Solana, Clinton wanted Solana as new NATO-Boss. His wish came true exactly 10 days later.)

The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Monday praised the "constructive" approach of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to the upcoming US-sponsored conference on the Middle East, saying it could help bring peace to the region.
(Olmert had held a speech at a dinner last night sponsored by the Saban Center of the Brookings Institute in Jerusalem, with attendence of Rice and Tony Blair. Olmert spoke forcefully in Hebrew with a message to the Israeli public. The speech was broadcast live on Israel television.)
Israeli officials said it was no coincidence that Olmert chose to speak in Hebrew at a conference where all the other speeches were in English. The prime minister was really addressing the Israeli public, they said, and the message was that he was serious about the peace talks and that Israel would have to fulfill its obligations under the road map peace plan.
"The issue of Jerusalem can be fudged for the conference; issues of territory are not very controversial anymore," he said. "The issue of refugees and the Jewish nature of the State of Israel seem to be, at the moment, the most critical issue."

“This is Rabin’s legacy,” Mr. Olmert said. “This is a legacy to which I am obligated; this is a legacy according to which I intend to lead the state of Israel over the coming months — before the meeting in Annapolis, during it and most important after it.” link.

"Olmert yesterday gave a very constructive speech, one of his best in recent times," Solana said. "If that is the spirit with which he is approaching the [Middle East peace] process, I think we have many chances of having a positive outcome."
Solana was addressing reporters in Lisbon ahead of talks between senior EU officials and the foreign ministers of Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
"[The conference] will be the start of a future process ... we will enter into intense and continuous negotiations," Olmert said.
Olmert also said he hoped for the negotiations could be completed before January 2009. And speaking in Lisbon, the EU's Solana said Europe shared Olmert's hopes of seeing the peace process bring about results by that date.

The EU's foreign policy chief, whose official title is the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, plans to visit the region next week.

"I hope to see for myself what are the chances of success. I think a success is possible," Solana said. ..."

"The meeting was also expected to offer EU ministers a first chance to discuss Sarkozy's as yet undefined idea of creating a Mediterranean Union.
Modelled on the EU, the Mediterranean Union would comprise 20 countries on the Mediterranean Sea. Among them Israel and Syria...."

"German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited both Tel Aviv and Ramallah this week and later said talks between Israelis and Palestinians had entered 'a decisive phase'.
During his visit to the Middle East, Steinmeier unveiled a German-initiated plan aimed at supporting Palestinian businesses, education and security services.
He said the initiative was designed to allocate European aid in a timely and organized manner.
The EU's executive, the Commission, has announced its intention of resuming direct financial aid to the Palestinian government of President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah...
Soldiers from Italy and France are leading peace-keeping operations in southern Lebanon and Israel tends to view the EU as traditionally pro-Arab." Link

-Also there are EU-Morocco talks to boost bilateral ties , (read more about it here)
this comes admidst a conflict between Spanish King Juan Carlos and Marocco about
a visit in a Spanish city on African land. Spain insists the city is as Spanish as Madrid or Barcelona. Morocco calls them "occupied" territory. Marocco recalled already it's ambassador. read about it here . and then this all shows how "needed" is the dialogue:
"Morocco calls for serious dialogue with Spain to turn the page on colonial occupation"

stay tuned!

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