BONN (Apr. 22)
The Bonn government has called for a new Middle East initiative by the European Economic Community (EEC). According to Deputy Foreign Minister Juergen Moellemann, such a move is necessary to promote peace in the region and to make the voice of Europe heard and respected there.
Moellemann’s remarks over the weekend reflected a major departure from the past position of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s government. Kohl himself had declared, on taking office in October, 1982, that Europe should coordinate its actions in the Middle East with the United States and not embark on independent initiatives.
Kohl’s ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is also on record as having rejected the EEC’s June, 1980 Venice declaration on the Middle East which called for, among other things, the Palestine Liberation Organization to be associated with the peace process in the region. Kohl, a member of the the Bundestag at the time, led the opposition in debate over the Venice declaration.
Now, according to Moellemann, a speedy resumption of the European-Arab dialogue is called for. So far, the dialogue, has been a failure because of rivalries in the Arab world and because the Arabs demand that it concentrate on political rather than economic issues.