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E.u. Names Middle East Envoy

The European Union has named Spain’s ambassador to Israel, Miguel Angel Moratinos, to serve as a special E.U. envoy to the Middle East.

The 15 E.U. foreign ministers gave Moratinos a mandate at Monday’s meeting here to establish contacts with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators and to suggest possible E.U. initiatives for advancing the peace process, according to diplomatic sources.

The naming of a special Middle East envoy was part of a broader program backed by some E.U. members to increase European participation in the Middle East peace process.

France in particular has been urging its E.U. partners to play a greater role in regional peace efforts.

Before the naming of Moratinos to the new position, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amre Moussa called on the E.U. ministers to persuade Israel that “its policies are endangering peace in the Middle East.”

Moussa, who was here for discussions about increased E.U.-Egyptian cooperation, criticized the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that they will lead to “less security, less stability and therefore less prosperity for us all.”