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Swiss back latest Middle East peace plan

Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss (right), assured his Jordanian counterpart, Abdel Ilah al-Khatib, of Swiss support for peace efforts Keystone

Switzerland has added its support to the latest Middle East peace plan, drawn up by Jordan and Egypt, aimed at ending the continuing violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss – who is on a visit to Jordan – expressed support for the proposals, which foresee an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian areas, an end to blockades, a halt to Jewish settlements and the resumption of peace talks.

A spokesman for Deiss said the talks on Thursday with his Jordanian counterpart, Abdel Ilah Al-Khatib, also focussed on Switzerland’s attempts to host a conference on enforcing the fourth Geneva convention on the protection of civilians in conflict areas. Israel and the United States have so far opposed such a conference.

Deiss also indicated Switzerland’s willingness to ease sanctions against Iraq – a move which has split the international community.

The Swiss foreign ministry spokesman made it clear that Switzerland believed sanctions should hit “those who are guilty and not the civilian population”.

Deiss is in Jodan to attend a two-day meeting at Petra, beginning on Friday, which will focus on human security. It is addressing the situation of children in preparation for a United Nations summit on the issue in September.

The Swiss foreign minister has made a number of visits to the Middle East in recent months. Switzerland has repeatedly offered its good offices to help advance the peace process.

swissinfo with agencies

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