Continuing Middle East diplomacy, UN envoy holds meetings in Damascus

24 April 2001

Continuing his diplomatic efforts in response to recent violence in the Middle East, a top United Nations envoy held high-level meetings today in Syria.

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, met in Damascus with Syria's Foreign Minister, Farouk al-Shara.

Today's meeting followed contacts yesterday in Amman between Mr. Roed-Larsen and Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Elah al-Khatib. The two had discussed the joint Jordanian-Egyptian peace initiative and possible ways to move forward on that track.

On Monday, Mr. Roed-Larsen issued a statement in Beirut and Gaza warning that the situation in the Middle East was close to a point where "the violence threatens to spin out of control."

At the same time, he noted that there were grounds for optimism and that progress was possible. "We must all ensure that the talking continues," he stressed, adding, "no one can afford a regional conflict."


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