Germany steps up efforts to end Middle East crisis

7th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 August 2006, BERLIN - Germany stepped up Monday its diplomatic effort to end the current Middle East crisis with Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for a rapid UN vote to end the hostilities, as the German foreign minister prepared for another visit to the region. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was to depart from Berlin on Tuesday. Sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur he would visit Lebanon, Israel and most likely the Palestinian territories as he did on a visit last month. He was expected to app

7 August 2006

BERLIN - Germany stepped up Monday its diplomatic effort to end the current Middle East crisis with Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for a rapid UN vote to end the hostilities, as the German foreign minister prepared for another visit to the region.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was to depart from Berlin on Tuesday. Sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur he would visit Lebanon, Israel and most likely the Palestinian territories as he did on a visit last month.

He was expected to appeal to both sides to carry out a UN Security Council peace resolution. Lebanon, Syria and other Arab nations have so far rejected the draft resolution, which was still being revised Monday.

A Berlin spokesman said Merkel had held a lengthy telephone call with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora and that both had called for the rapid passage of the UN Security Council resolution.

Merkel's spokesman, Thomas Steg, said Berlin believed the resolution was the start of a process that might lead to a permanent end to the conflict.

Steinmeier's trip follows his push for Syria to play a greater role in seeking a peaceful solution to the latest Mideast conflict.

However, several nations, including Israel, are sceptical about what might be achieved by trying to draw Syria into the search for a solution.

In Beirut, Steinmeier was expected to meet with Siniora as well as House Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Fawzi Salkouh. During a stop in Cyprus, he would meet Cypriot officials, then fly to Jerusalem for talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

His Thursday programme would involve talks in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, sources said.

Steg said in Berlin that an international peace force was indispensable for Lebanon.

Asked by reporters if Germany would contribute troops, after senior Israeli officials said Germans would be welcome, Steg said such a decision could only be taken when a mandate had actually been issued for such a force.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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