German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has made the Middle East a top priority of her six-month EU presidency, sets off Saturday on a three-day visit there to add Europe's push to growing diplomatic efforts by the US and UN, and what are seen as hopeful signs from an Arab summit.
Her trip includes talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, meetings that will come close on the heels of Thursday's Arab League summit of Arab kings, emirs and presidents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The meeting called for Israel to accept a revived peace plan.
She will also see Jordan's King Abdullah, one of the strongest supporters of the Arab plan.
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