European Lawmakers to Visit Region to Promote Understanding

Some 150 European lawmakers will set out Saturday on a four-day visit to the Middle East as part of the "A Moment for Peace" project initiated by the Med-Bridge Strategic Center.

Med-Bridge, set up three months ago and headed by French Socialist Francois Zimeray, aims to create a bridge between Europe and the Mediterranean countries, and the Middle East in particular, in an effort to promote understanding between the regions.

"On the other hand," Zimeray said in an interview with Haaretz, "we want to show the Israelis that Europe can contribute toward promoting peace and that the reality there is more complex."

The delegation will leave tomorrow for talks in Jordan with King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher.

The group will arrive in Israel on Sunday and meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

On Monday, the European parliamentarians will meet in Abu Dis with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia.

"We are talking about an unprecedented visit," said Yigal Palmor of the Foreign Ministry's Europe Division.

"A multinational European parliamentary delegation has never been here before - certainly not one of this size. It is very important for such a delegation to review the situation in the field."