Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday that he would work to prevent a flotilla bound for Gaza to sail in the coming weeks, Israel Radio reported. Berlusconi said his efforts were guided by the belief that the flotilla was not working to support peace in "our region."

Berlusconi also said that a peaceful Middle East is farther from reality now than it ever has been before, adding that Israel has no viable peace partner. He reiterated that the only way to achieve peace would be through negotiations and offered to organize a peace conference in Sicily.

The Italian prime minister said that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that the West can trust, and that Israel should join the European Union.

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