Gulf & Middle East
Merkel sees 'movement' in Mideast peace process
Apr 1, 2007 - 5:46:48 PM

Jerusalem, April 1 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed some guarded optimism here Sunday about prospects for reviving the Mideast peace process, saying she saw some 'movement' in recent developments.

'Things are moving,' said Merkel, who arrived in Israel late Saturday after talks in Jordan.

The priority must be over the long run to achieve a two-state solution in which a viable Palestinian state can exist next to a secure Israel, Merkel said.

'The path is still a very long one ... but even a timid step is a step,' she said, while expressing the hope that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could possibly help to resolve other conflicts in the region.

In her remarks, Merkel called on the new Palestinian unity government and above all the radical Islamic Hamas movement to show a 'sign of serious intent' in the peace process.

Merkel, who currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, is on a Mideast tour.

Her remarks about 'movement' in the Mideast process were taken as a reference to the recent flurry of diplomatic activity, among others the visits to the region by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, during which commitments were made to intensify the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.

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