|Syria to allow EU forces on border|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Saturday, 09 September 2006 00:00|
While there may be little aftershocks from the earthquake in the Jordan valley this morning, the prophetic aftershocks of the latest developments in the Middle East continue to reverberate. British Prime Minister Tony Blair flew to the Middle East today for talks on the current issues with regional leaders, namely the crisis in Iran, the conflict with Hizbullah and the stalled peace process with the Palestinians. Tony Blair has become the latest in a long line of European ministers to tour the Middle East this week. The Prime Minister travelled straight to Jerusalem to enter talks with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to discuss ways in which the process can be moved forward.
Quote: ""What he hopes to do is get the momentum ... At least beginning to go back the right way," the spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy. "If you allow the situation to drift then inevitably you're going to end up with a sort of conflict we had this summer."
In a surprising move, Syrian President Basher Assad has agreed to allow EU troops to monitor the Syrian-Lebanese border to enforce the arms embargo against Hizbullah. Assad had previously threatened to shut down the Syrian border if the UN sent troop to carry out that task. The EU troops will be plain clothed and will not carry weapons. It seems where US and UN efforts have in a way failed in regards to the Middle East peace process, the EU on the other hand grows from strength to strength.
Quote: ""The Syrian president has welcomed my proposal to send border guards from the European Union to control the passage of weapons between Syria and Lebanon," Prodi said in the southern Italian city of Bari. These border guards "will not be armed and will not be in uniform but will have all the necessary equipment to control the passage of weapons toward southern Lebanon," said Prodi, who had spoken with the Syrian president by telephone several times "in the last few days". The guards would number "several hundred", according to Prodi.
This is of course what we predicted would happen several weeks ago. The EU will continue to make efforts to stabilise the whole region, sending in peacekeeping troops where necessary, in order to create the environment in which a regional peace accord could be signed.