|EU backs Arab peace initiative|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 02 April 2007 17:00|
|I missed this news article on Saturday... |
European Foreign Ministers have expressed their full support for the Arab peace initiative, adopted at the Riyadh conference last week. Arab leaders resurrected the plan five years after Israel's initial rejection in 2002. The Arab initiative calls on Israel to withdraw from all land captured during the Six Day War, and absorb hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that were displaced following the wars with the Arab states. Moderate states would then offer Israel a normalization of relations.
Quote: ""There is full support for the Riyadh consensus," said a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, referring to the agreement reached by the Arab League in Saudi Arabia this week to revive a five-year-old Middle East peace plan. "The EU will continue to be extremely proactive to ensure that this window of opportunity is not missed."
It's not the first time the EU has backed the call for Israel to cede its land to Arab nations. Javier Solana said last month that the EU would like to see Syria "recuperate" the Golan Heights, in return for Syrian co-operation in Iraq. Although this agreement was supposed to be a peace initiative, I couldn't help thinking it was a veiled threat. Some Arab ministers stated that Israel must accept the Arab League plan or the consequences would be war. Others said that Israel must accept it in principle, and the details could be negotiated afterwards. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated the plan had some "positive elements", but that Israel could not absorb even one Palestinian refugee, for then Israel's fate would be sealed and the Palestinians would vote Israel out of existence. But Olmert has stated he believes a peace agreement in the Middle East is possible within five years...
Quote: "Though Israel rejected the plan, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in interviews published Friday that the Jewish state could clinch global peace with its enemies within five years. On the final day of their meeting, the EU ministers were briefed by Solana on his discussions at the Arab League summit.
Which brings me again to Javier Solana, the High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy. I came across this commentary today written by Mark Mardell, the BBC's Europe Editor, who was with Solana as he toured the Middle East earlier in the year. Mark looks at the influence of European Foreign Policy in the world, and Solana's future role as European Foreign Minister.
Quote: "The plan is not just to give Mr Solana a nicer, or more logical title. It would be a powerful new role. At the moment he answers to the Council, in other words the governments of the 27 EU countries. This wouldn't completely change, but crucially, under the constitution's proposals, he would take over all the functions of the commissioner for external relations, currently the Austrian Benita Ferrero-Waldner. This would give him access to a bigger budget, an embryonic diplomatic service and a seat on the commission, as vice-president. This is important because the commission can propose laws and policies. He would have the legal basis to become more of a player, rather than a follower of policy set down by others. Being at the pinnacle of two streams of power is known in the jargon as "double-hatting".
So it seems Solana is in the right place at the right time to have a great influence in the Middle East peace process. Whether he ends up being the prophesied Antichrist or not, we cannot tell. But his role in Europe is full of prophetic significance, and I couldn't help but think of a few particular verses upon reading the above passage...