In an interview on January 5 with the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos, the EU's special envoy for the Middle East peace, recognised that a further logjam has occurred. He therefore called for the EU to set in motion a political campaign in favour of the peace process and urged a role for the European Parliament.

After banking on a resumption of the peace process in the wake of the Wye Plantation accords, Miguel-Angel Moratinos now stresses that even though the agreement is on hold, attention should still be paid to the positive areas, not least the fact that for the first time a centre-right Government linked to religious parties in Israel had given international undertaking to concede some territory. The EU's special envoy is not overly optimist about the future of the peace process in the short term. He is not expecting to see any major progress achieved between now and June 1999, the date of the second round of elections in Israel. The most that can be done is to guarantee diplomatic management and prevent the peace process from unravelling. On this score, May 4, 1999 will be a decisive date. This is the time when the transitional period provided for by the Oslo accords will end. The Palestinian President, Yasser Arafat, has already made it known that failing any substantial progress, Palestine's independence will be proclaimed on May 4. Europe has a historic possibility of preventing this deadline turning out to be disastrous for the peace process. Paradoxically, as it is less concerned by the Wye Plantation accords, European has more freedom to help promote closer ties between the two parties, claimed Mr Moratinos.

Embryonic CFSP for the Middle East.

Questioned about the repercussions of the recent terrorist attacks, Mr Moratinos said movements such as...

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