German Chancellor Calls for New Middle East Peace Push
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut Sunday, urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to talks to end their violent month-long conflict, reported AFP.
"It is of fundamental importance that there is a return to the negotiating table with a view to relaunching the peace process," Schroeder said after an hour of one-on-one talks with Hariri, followed by a larger meeting involving delegations from both sides.
"We both agreed that (US President) Bill Clinton should launch a new initiative, and it must absolutely be supported," the chancellor said, according to AFP.
"We also agree that it is necessary to do the utmost to work towards a reduction of tension," he said.
Meanwhile, Schroeder promised Hariri that he would throw his weight behind Lebanon’s drive to conclude a Euro-Mediterranean partnership agreement, reported the Daily Star newspaper.
“Germany will be very pleased to support Premier Hariri’s desire to speed the process of concluding the Euro-Mediterranean partnership agreement,” said Schroeder, the first German head of government to visit Lebanon.
Schroeder called relations between Lebanon and Germany “excellent,” according to the daily.
Schroeder met later Sunday with Lebanon's President Emile Lahoud, who asked for the chancellor's help in regaining control over the Israeli-controlled Shabaa Farms, an official said.
The German chancellor was scheduled to attend a working breakfast Monday with parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri, said the agency – (Several Sources)
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