Merkel: Mideast peace may require unusual steps

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that "unusual steps" are a part of the search for peace in the Middle East, defending staunchly her foreign minister's recent visit to Syria. In a speech to parliament, Merkel said Germany balances a "readiness for dialogue" in principle with countries such as Syria and Iran with "clear principles and values." Its first priority is to bring new life to the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators that formulated the long-stalled "roadmap" peace plan: the US, EU, the United Nations and Russia. "Unusual steps such as, for example, the foreign minister's trip to Syria also are part of this," Merkel told lawmakers.