French FM to Embark on Mideast Tour Sunday
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine is due to leave for Israel and the Palestinian territories on Sunday, reported the official Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA).
Vedrine was originally scheduled to begin his trip on September 20, but he postponed his trip after the deadly terrorist attacks in the United States.
His talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials are expected to focus on enforcing the ceasefire declared by the two sides late last week, a French Foreign Ministry official said in a statement, cited by the agency.
It was unclear if Vedrine would meet Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon, said KUNA, adding that he would meet with his counterpart, Shimon Peres.
Vedrine's visit is part of a European Union effort to maintain a diplomatic presence on the ground in the region.
"Europe, which has interest in the region, must be more engaged," the statement said, quoting a doctrine espoused and promoted by Vedrine and now adopted by all of the 15 EU nations.
Several other European foreign ministers, in addition to the organization’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, have been in the region to maintain pressure on the conflicting parties to return to negotiations – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)