|11 nations publish Declaration of Alicante|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 28 October 2006 00:00|
Link from my friend David...
Javier Solana, the High Representative for the European Common, Foreign and Security Policy travelled to Beirut yesterday to meet with high profile politicians and influential leaders over the continuing crisis in the Middle East. Solana is on a 6 day tour of the region in the hope of restarting the stalled peace process. Day 3 saw a visit to Lebanon to shore up Saniora's fragile government, which is being pressed hard by Hizbullah and Syria. David sent me an email of this article, but when I read his link, the section he highlighted for me - detailing a meeting between Solana and Catholic Cardinal Nasrallah, has been edited out. Here is the original text...
Quote: "The one-day visit to Beirut was to send a strong message to Syria and its Lebanese allies that Europe, which is providing the bulk of a 7,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force, wants to keep Saniora's moderate government in office. "We have real and important responsibilities in Lebanon," Solana said in Israel before heading to Lebanon. Behind closed doors EU officials were expected to voice concern over growing tensions between rival Lebanese factions, which threaten Saniora's fragile coalition. Arriving late Friday in Beirut, Solana met with Lebanon's influential Maronite Catholic patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir. On Saturday Solana will confer with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh as well as Saniora. Notably absent from Solana's agenda is pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud.
Why this information has been removed, I have no idea. But clearly, the religious element of conflict is not off limits to Javier Solana. His visit comes as his former aid and current Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, met with 10 other European and Middle East leaders (Egypt, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Turkey, Algeria, France, Tunisia, and Libya as a special guest) to thrash out the Declaration of Alicante. Moratinos believes the roadmap to peace is fatally stalled, and a new broader agreement should negotiated between the European Union and the countries of the Middle East. The Declaration of Alicante will call for short term steps to be taken in order to kick-start the peace process again, including the publication of a Palestinian Constitution (let me guess, based on the National Reconciliation Document?)
Quote: "Citing a list of requirements for successful peace building, the declaration called for "the convening of an international conference, aimed at demonstrating political commitment to the renewed multilateral peace process as well as the active support from neighboring countries, regional organizations and third parties." Speaking at a news conference, Moratinos described the declaration as "Strong, committed and with ideas." "I can say with absolute conviction that you will see many of these proposals become reality. It is not just another proposal from a regional diplomatic meeting but rather something that will have an impact," he added.
It seems everyone in Europe is talking about peace in the Middle East. I'm starting to lose count of the number of peace initiatives Europe - and particularly Spain, has launched. Sooner or later an agreement will be drawn up, and confirmed by Europe's top man, in accordance with Daniel's prophecy.