The situation in the Middle East does not leave the EU representatives indifferent. The foreign ministers of the European Union members were trying to solve the question of how the European community could assist in stopping the bloodshed in Palestine. The discussion took place on April 3, in Luxembourg.
It should be mentioned that the European Union condemned the acts of terrorism, performed by the militants of the Palestinian organizations, but it did not support the operation of the Israeli army. The EU representatives have been calling upon Israel to withdraw the troops from the occupied territories since the beginning of the army actions. Spain sent a letter to Ariel Sharon, demanding the immediate cessation of the military operation and execution of the adequate UN Security Council. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique claimed that the anti-terrorist war did not equal the destruction of the Palestinian administrative buildings.
By the way, the situation in the Middle East was discussed at the meeting between the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and his European colleagues on April 2. It seems that Russia and the EU have a common viewpoint as far as the issue is concerned: both Russia and the EU urge Israel to stop the operation against Palestine. This is not surprising. The leaders of the foreign political departments were also discussing the coming Russia-EU summit, which is to take place May 28, as well as the mutual relations in energy field. But the Mideast situation was surely the key subject of the discussion.
Nevertheless, the Israeli administration is not really willing to listen to the opinion of the European Union, and there are reasons for that. Ariel Sharon’s government will hardly pay attention to critics of the EU until the USA supports Israel. By the way, the European foreign ministers set out their discontent with the fact that the USA was not playing a significant role in the process of settling the current bloody conflict.
But the EU administration is hardly ready to become a conciliator in the field of regulation of the Mideast conflict. The hope for success is very little, and there will be tons of criticism, if another peacemaking mission fails. That is why the EU will keep on calling the feuding parties to stop the violence, but these appeals do not oblige anyone with anything. At present moment, the EU does not have any levels to show influence on either the Palestinians, or the Israelis, and the European Union perfectly realizes that – what would be the point to criticize Americans otherwise? The Europeans apparently stake on joining the efforts of all the parties, which interests are touched upon in the conflict either way: the USA, Russia, Arab states. This is a correct tactics, but will it bring any results? At present moment there are few reasons to be optimistic.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov