European Mideast peace planners snubbed London

17th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 17, 2006 (AFP) - Britain was not informed of the new Middle East peace plan pushed by France, Spain and Italy despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this week calling for a new strategy in the region, The Guardian reported on Friday.

LONDON, Nov 17, 2006 (AFP) - Britain was not informed of the new Middle East peace plan pushed by France, Spain and Italy despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this week calling for a new strategy in the region, The Guardian reported on Friday.

According to the newspaper, Blair's Downing Street office confirmed that it had not been consulted, and had no prior knowledge of the proposed plan, which calls for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, an exchange of prisoners, a Palestinian "government of national unity" and the despatch of a fact-finding mission to the Palestinian territories.

Unnamed sources within the British foreign ministry told the newspaper that the first they had learned of the plan was from a news item on BBC News.

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the plan on Thursday at a press conference during talks with French President Jacques Chirac.

In a keynote speech in London on Monday, Blair said the three-year-old Iraq conflict — in which US and British troops appear increasingly mired — needs to be seen as part of a "whole Middle East" strategy.

"Just as the situation is evolving, so our strategy has to evolve to meet it," he said.

"Just as it is, in significant part, forces outside Iraq that are trying to create mayhem inside Iraq, so we have to have a strategy that pins them back, not only in Iraq but outside of it too ...

"This is what I call a 'whole Middle East' strategy," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article