German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive in the Middle East in the beginning of February for a visit marking Germany’s presidency of the European Union.
Merkel will visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for the purpose of strengthening the commercial ties with those countries.
The German media has reported, however, that Merkel is not planning a visit to Israel or the Palestinian Authority.
Germany has announced that while it will hold the presidency of the EU, the German Chancellor is planning to give priority to the efforts to bring the Quartet back to the peace process as a mediator.
A spokesman for the German government said that the Chancellor intends to discuss the subject of the Quartet and its role in the peace process with President Bush during Merkel’s upcoming visit to Washington.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said that at the same time, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has requested an urgent meeting of the Quartet with the participation of foreign ministers and the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Conversations held with Quartet members indicate that there is a general agreement to hold the meeting. The spokesman added that Germany believes that the foreign ministers’ meeting will be held in the near future.