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Germany’s Merkel Welcomes US Steps On Mideast Peace January 7, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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BERLIN (AP)–German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed renewed U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process Sunday, and suggested that recent Israeli-Palestinian contacts offer a “unique chance” to advance it.

Merkel – whose country holds the European Union presidency – is trying to put the so-called Quartet of the E.U., Russia, the U.N. and the U.S. at the center of a revived peace effort.

She won praise for that effort last week from U.S. President George W. Bush, who noted that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be going to the region to try to revive the process.

“I am very happy that the Americans are taking the initiative,” Merkel said in an interview with ZDF television.

“The secretary of state will go there at the end of next week and then we will see what the Quartet can do – because we now have perhaps a unique chance, in view of the contacts between (Israeli) Prime Minister (Ehud) Olmert and Palestinian President (Mahmoud) Abbas, to move forward here.”

Olmert and Abbas met late last month for talks aimed at thawing relations between the two sides.

“One thing is clear: America, Europe, we can all make an effort, but if we do not succeed in encouraging the actors on the ground, the regional forces, to do something, we cannot (move forward) alone,” Merkel said.

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