§ Mr. Stephen Twigg
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has 419W taken since the meeting between the Minister of State and Nabil Sha'ath on 20 March regarding Palestinian violence. [R]
§ Mr. Wilson
Since my meeting with Palestinian Minister for Planning and International Co-operation Nabil Sha'ath on 20 March, the UK has continued to be actively engaged in the search for peace in the middle east. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on 21 and 28 March, and to Nabil Sha'ath on 27 March. His messages to his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts were reinforced by his statement of 29 March, which called for an end to the cycle of violence and retaliation.
I met Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Illah Al-Khatib on 3 April. At the Prime Minister's request and with the support of the Foreign Secretary, Lord Levy travelled to Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 4–5 April as the Prime Minister's personal envoy. He met, among others, Prime Minister Sharon and President Arafat. He urged both parties to take immediate steps to stop the violence and build confidence. EU Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in the middle east at the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 9 April.
On 18 April, the Foreign Secretary spoke again to Shimon Peres and Nabil Sha'ath, and to Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara'a and US Secretary of State Colin Powell. He also issued a statement calling on both sides to show restraint and draw back from confrontation. I reiterated our position in discussions on the situation in the middle east during my attendance at meetings of EU and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Ministers in Bahrain on 22–23 April.