German FM to Discuss Regional Peace on Mideast Tour

Guido Westerwelle to discuss regional dimensions of Arab-Israeli conflict in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is to visit four countries in the Middle East from May 21, to discuss the "regional dimensions" of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

Westerwelle will depart for the region on May 21, and meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Suleiman on Saturday May 22.

The discussions in Beirut will also involve the German military's involvement in UNIFIL, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

The minister will then travel on to Cairo, where he is due to meet Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, as well as the foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

On Sunday May 23, Westerwelle will fly to Jordan where he is due to be met by King Abdullah, and then on to Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad.

A key point in the discussions will be what neighboring states can do to move forward the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations - currently taking place in the form of proximity talks, spokesman Andreas Peschke said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a four-country tour of the Gulf states, beginning on May 24, which will include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.