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...Tuomioja, who has the task of presenting a common European foreign policy on the crisis, said the EU's main priority was to try to obtain a permanent and effective cease-fire. That meant involving all the parties.
"Then the next step, the most important step, is to put the Israeli-Palestinian track back on the agenda," he said. "We all recognize that stability will not be possible unless the Palestinian issue is addressed. It is the underlying source of the conflict. At the moment you have a situation in which support for extremists, including terrorism, is growing."
Asked what the EU could achieve in concrete terms as the United States and France wrangle over the terms of a cease-fire in Lebanon, where more than 1,000 people have died over the last month of war, Tuomioja said that the 25-member bloc was already doing a great deal by providing humanitarian assistance.
"The EU is mostly doing humanitarian work, which is rather frustrating especially if the bombing creates more humanitarian needs," Tuomioja said. "The same applies to reconstruction, which the EU will take part in heavily. It is frustrating for more ruins to be rebuilt."...
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