Solana to visit ME in effort to revive peace talks
European Union foreign ministers endorsed plans Tuesday to send EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to the Middle East to assess efforts in trying to revive the stalled Middle East peace process. Officials said Solana would visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, and meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during his trip next week. "We don't see any forward movement for the time being," said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, reflecting EU frustrations over the Palestinian Hamas-led governments refusal to meet international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel. The EU foreign ministers reiterated calls that Hamas form a unity government with Abbas' Fatah party, and called on "all Palestinian factions to end their internal strife" and resume coalition talks. "We are ready to normalize relations as soon as there is a government we can work with," said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.
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