New EU foreign policy chief plans ME visit, backs J'lem as shared capital

New EU foreign policy ch

New EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton plans to visit the Middle East soon to discuss the stalled peace process and will stick to the EU stance of urging Israel and the Palestinians to make Jerusalem their shared capital. Ashton told European lawmakers Tuesday in Strasbourg that she wants to meet the key players in the peace process and "see firsthand how the EU can be a force for change." The trip will be her first to the region since being appointed as the 27-nation bloc's foreign policy chief. The European Union enraged Israel last week with its shared capital concept but Ashton signaled support for the idea. "Negotiations should be based on international law and respect for previous agreements," she said, "and all the issues should be on the table, including the status of Jerusalem as a future shared capital."