EU\'s Solana Arrives in Israel on First Leg of Peace Mission
The European Union's foreign policy and security chief, Javier Solana, arrived in Israel Tuesday on the first step of a Middle East tour aimed at trying to help reduce tension in the region.
"We have come to talk to all the parties to make an evaluation of the situation and try to suggest ways to lower the tension," Solana told a press conference following a meeting with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Annan arrived in the region Monday night in an effort to try to defuse the tensions that have led to nearly 100 deaths and more than 2,000 people being wounded since violence broke out on September 28.
Solana was also to meet Tuesday night with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Asked about the prospect of creating an international commission to investigate the violence in Israel, Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, Solana said: "At this point, the most important thing for us is that the parties return to the negotiating table."
Solana is due to travel on to Egypt Wednesday and then continue on to Lebanon and Syria -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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