Accessibility links

EU Foreign Ministers Discuss Mideast Peace Process

European Union foreign ministers tackled the topic of Mideast peace Saturday on the second and final day of an informal meeting in Bremen, Germany.

The delegates discussed how to deal with the new Palestinian unity government, and ways to support a 2002 Arab peace initiative revived last week at an Arab League summit.

Reports from the Bremen meeting quote diplomats as saying the EU will likely maintain its boycott of the militant Hamas-led Palestinian government while keeping in contact with its moderate elements before taking any further action.

On Friday, the EU foreign ministers reached a compromise regarding the U.N. Security Council proposal on the final status of Serbia's Kosovo province. They agreed to press for the adoption of a resolution in the U.N. Security Council, which suggests granting Kosovo supervised independence.

Serbia strongly opposes the plan by former Finnish Prime Minister Martti Ahtisaari, but Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority has accepted it.

Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes halted Belgrade's deadly crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists in the province.

The EU ministers met Saturday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel began a three-day trip to the Middle East. She is scheduled to hold meetings with the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority during her trip, which also takes her to Lebanon and Jordan.

The European Union joined an international boycott of the Palestinian government last year after the militant Islamic group Hamas won a majority in parliament, then continued its refusal to recognize Israel or renounce violence. The new unity government combines Hamas with President Mahmoud Abbas' moderate Fatah movement.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.