Thursday, June 16, 2011

EU: EU High Representative Ashton visits Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine

Source: European Union

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and European Commission Vice President, travels this week to Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine, for high level meetings with government leaders and international partners including the United Nations, Arab League, African Union, and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

EU HR Ashton's visit comes six months after the beginning of the 'Arab Spring' and at a key moment for the Middle East Peace Process. Following the trip, she will fly immediately to Luxembourg for discussions with EU foreign ministers.

"I look forward to meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders and encouraging them to seize the opportunity and engage in negotiations," Catherine Ashton said. "With the momentous events going on in North Africa and following President Obama's speech last month, it is more urgent than ever that we kick start the Middle East Peace Process. I have proposed a meeting of the Quartet to help relaunch negotiations and will be looking for positive signs from all sides. I will also be attending the meeting of the Cairo Group, which brings together international organisations to support the democratic transition in a free and united Libya."

On Thursday, the High Representative will meet Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judehin Amman.

On Friday, she will meet Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

On Saturday in Egypt, at the Headquarters of the Arab League, where Secretary General Amre Moussa will host a meeting of the Cairo Group, she will discuss Libya with UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon (by video-link), Jean Ping, President of the African Union Commission, and with the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.

On Sunday, she will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, before flying to Luxembourg for the meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday.