'No need ceasefire right now', Livni to tell Sarkozy before Mideast tour

While some EU states have criticised the Israeli attacks as disproportionate, the United States has firmly backed Israeli massacre in Gaza as usual.

'No need ceasefire right now', Livni to tell Sarkozy before Mideast tour
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he would visit the Middle East early next week to try to restore peace to the region, but Israel rejected a French initiative for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Sarkozy has played a prominent role on the world stage in recent months, thanks largely to France's tenure of the rotating presidency of the European Union, allowing him to act in the name of the 27-member bloc.

The Czech Republic takes over the EU presidency at midnight, but Sarkozy made it clear he would stay focused on the world's trouble spots and try to carve out a role for French diplomacy.

"France will continue to act in Africa and Asia and, of course, in the Middle East, which I will visit from Monday, because it is France's vocation to seek the path of peace," Sarkozy said in an address on French television.

He is due to pay a long-planned visit to Lebanon on Jan. 6 and did not say where he would go on Jan. 5.

However, a French newspaper said on its website that he would travel to Israel and the West Bank on that day, meeting Israeli leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Citing an unidentified presidential official, Le Parisien said Sarkozy was also considering seeing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad next week.

Israel launched air strikes against Gaza five days ago killing nearly 400 Palestinians and has appeared to step up preparations for a possible ground offensive against Gaza.

France called for 48-hour truce to let in humanitarian aid for Gaza's 1.5 million residents, but Israel has rejected the truce proposal.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is scheduled to meet Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday. A political source in Israel told Reuters Livni would stress that "we do not need ceasefires right now".

Sarkozy enhanced his international image in August when he swiftly intervened after Russian forces invaded Georgia, brokering a ceasefire between the two sides.

France is anxious for Europe to play a bigger role in the Middle East and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner persuaded his EU counterparts to attend an emergency meeting on Gaza in Paris late on Tuesday.

The ministers joined international calls for an immediate and lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza.

While some EU states have criticised the Israeli attacks as disproportionate, the United States has firmly backed Israeli massacre in Gaza as usual.


Reuters
Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2009, 18:56
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Hilary Smith
Hilary Smith - 10 yıl Before

The US is missing an excellent opportunity to reassert its leadership. We should be defending the poor not cheering their annihilation.