Brazil's Lula to visit Palestinian territories

BRASILIA- President Jose luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will visit the Palestinian territories during a trip to Israel later this month, the Brazilian foreign ministry said Wednesday in a statement.
Lula will be the first Brazilian president to visit Israel on March 16-17 and will take the opportunity to also visit the Palestinian territories, the ministry said.

Brazilian President Jose luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Brazilian President Jose luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
Lula's visit to the Middle East, which will also include Jordan, is part of Brazil's bid, launched late last year, to play a greater role in international efforts to reach an agreement on Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In November Lula hosted meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The announcement of Lula's upcoming visit to the Palestinian territories came as visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her government was "very pleased" that Arab nations were backing indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks.
Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo agreed Wednesday to back one last round of indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks despite skepticism over Israel's readiness to revive peace efforts.
The Arab move, after months of US-led shuttle diplomacy, was swiftly welcomed by Israel but was slammed by the Islamist Hamas movement which controls Gaza.
Arab League chief Amr Mussa said the Arab ministers had called for a four-month deadline for the indirect talks.

Friday, March 5th 2010

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