Monday, July 14, 2008
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has launched a new international body with 43 member nations aimed at ending conflict in the Middle East.
The Union for the Mediterranean will tackle issues such as regional unrest, immigration to pollution.
At the summit’s opening in Paris, Mr Sarkozy said its aim was to ensure the region’s people could love each other instead of making war.
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Israeli and Palestinian leaders earlier expressed optimism about peace talks.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel and the Palestinians have never been as close to a peace deal as they are now.
He was speaking after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who said both sides were serious and wanted to achieve peace.
Transform the region
Mr Sarkozy urged Middle Eastern countries involved in long-running conflicts to end the deadly spiral of war and violence, as European nations had done by making peace which each other during the 20th Century.