Schroeder Says Germany to Play Greater Role in Middle East
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak in Berlin that his country will play a greater role in helping defuse the violent situation in the Palestinian territories, and resuming negotiations between Palestinians and the Israelis.
According to AL-Ahram daily, Germany has decided to act as mediator to bring the two sides back to the negotiating tables.
For his part, Mubarak said the EU states "are so close to the Middle East, closer than any other power, that something should be done," the paper quoted him as saying.
The Egyptian president arrived early afternoon in Berlin seeking the German government's diplomatic help toward defusing the escalating violence and facilitating the peace process.
Egyptian Information Minister Safwat Sharif told reporters that Germany, as a member of the European Union, can play an important role in the region.
He added that France as well can play a role also in defusing the escalating situation, said the paper.
Earlier, Mubarak held talks with Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer before his meeting with Schroeder.
Although bilateral relations were also on the agenda of the visit, his talks with Fischer focused solely on the Middle East, a German foreign ministry spokeswoman said, cited by AFP.
The two called on both sides in the conflict to end the spiral of violence, the spokeswoman said.
She said Mubarak called on both the United States and the EU to play a stronger role in the peace process, while Fischer praised a joint Egyptian-Jordanian proposal for a rapid resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Egyptian President's German visit is the first stop in a three-nation tour. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to travel to Romania before heading to Moscow Thursday – Albawaba.com
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