Monday

23rd Apr 2018

EU says Israel "totally wrong" on ceasefire message

The Finnish presidency of the EU has denied giving Israel a green light to continue its operations in Lebanon and suggested that Jerusalem's interpretation of Wednesday's international crisis talks in Rome was "totally wrong."

The strong message from Finnish foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja came after Israel's justice minister Haim Ramon said that divisions among world leaders meeting in Rome could be seen as "permission" for Israel to continue its offensive.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Mr Tuomioja met Israel's top officials on Thursday (27 July) and is due to travel to Beirut on Friday. His protest against Jerusalem's misinterpretation of the Rome conference conclusions was echoed by Berlin and Rome.

Italian prime minister Romano Prodi pointed out that "The position expressed by the conference cannot be interpreted as an authorisation."

And German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted the Rome emergency talks had signalled "just the opposite," as all its participants "wanted to see an end to the fighting as swiftly as possible."

Wednesday's conference was attended by several European foreign ministers, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and UN secretary general Kofi Annan, as well as Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt but not Syria or Iran.

Under US pressure, the top-level meeting abstained from calling for an immediate ceasefire in the region - but has endorsed the idea of a peacekeeping force "under a UN mandate."

Blair to lobby Bush on UN resolution

The sensitive issue of whether to explicitly call for a ceasefire in the conflict in which at least 424 Lebanese and 52 Israelis have been killed so far will also dominate Friday's (28 July) meeting between the British and American leaders in Washington.

UK prime minister Tony Blair is planning to press US president George W. Bush to support "as a matter of urgency" a ceasefire in Lebanon as part of a UN security council resolution to be voted on next week, according to UK daily, The Guardian.

Britain and the US are isolated in their refusal to urge the two parties to immediately stop fighting, arguing the region needs a "sustainable" solution in a position viewed by some European diplomats as buying time for Israel to pound Hezbollah.

London and Washington have been circulating a text of the draft resolution which suggests a two-phased procedure to restore peace in the region.

The first phase would involve a ceasefire deal between Israel and Lebanon with a small international force deployed on the border while Israeli troops withdraw from the country.

Thee second stage would see a larger force of up to 20,000 UN-mandated troops disarming Lebanese militias - mainly Hezbollah - and helping the Lebanese army to take control of the country's southern border.

Peace plan competition

Meanwhile, Paris - currently holding the presidency of the UN security council - has prepared a competing resolution of its own.

The French draft calls for an "immediate halt to the violence" and "a handover of prisoners to a third party enjoying the trust of the two belligerents."

It also foresees the deployment of international troops in support of the Lebanese army and a buffer zone on the Isreal-Lebanon border, press reports say.

EU foreign ministers will meet for an extraordinary session in Brussels on Tuesday (1 August) to debate the bloc's position on the Middle East crisis.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Analysis

Macron relaunches his bid for EU leadership

In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday and then at a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, the French president will try to get support for his EU reform proposals.

What to do with Orban? EU centre-right ponders

While the majority of the centre-right group in the European Parliament want Orban's Fidesz party to stay, some MEPs argue the xenophobic tone of Fidesz's election campaign is a red line.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement
  2. Nahles elected new leader of Germany's SPD
  3. Report: EU budget to refocus on South
  4. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  5. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  6. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  7. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  8. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. France tightens immigration law, sparking division
  2. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  3. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  4. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  5. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  6. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  7. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  8. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group