Papandreou to meet with Peres, Arafat

Foreign Minister George Papandreou is expected to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat when he visits Israel on Saturday for the enthronement of Patriarch Irenaios in Jerusalem. He said that he would present the representatives of the Israelis and Palestinians with the European Union’s view that there should be an immediate ceasefire in the region. I may be going to the region for another reason, but I will likely have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Arafat and with Mr. Peres, Papandreou said after a meeting in Athens with his French counterpart, Hubert Vedrine. French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said that he and his host, Costas Simitis, had discussed the Middle East. We hope the meeting between Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat, which is being prepared now, will lead somewhere, he said. Turkey also continues to refuse to allow the nascent European defense force to use NATO resources unless Turkey is given an equal voice in the decisions on the force. After a meeting with the EU’s foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Cem simply expressed the hope that the problem would be solved.

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