Barnier kicks off Israel visit

7th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

JERUSALEM, Feb 6 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier arrived late Sunday in Tel Aviv for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, diplomatic sources said.

JERUSALEM, Feb 6 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier arrived late Sunday in Tel Aviv for a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, diplomatic sources said.

Barnier is due to meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

The visit is to focus on the implementation of reforms within the Palestinian security services and Sharon's plan to withdraw troops and settlers from Gaza later this year, the French foreign ministry said last week.

The visit comes ahead of Tuesday's summit between Sharon and Abbas in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh - their first meeting since Abbas took over as Palestinian leader following the death of Yasser Arafat.

The foreign minister is to emphasise the willingness of both France and Europe to participate in the resumption of the Middle East peace process.

Barnier is to travel to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday from where he will return to France and hold talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who herself arrived in Israel on Sunday as part of a Middle East and Europe tour.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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