EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to visit Middle East

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will visit several Middle Eastern countries next week in an attempt to calm the anger over Prophet Muhammad caricatures published in several European newspapers, Solana's office said Friday.

Solana will be received by King Abdullah and Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal in Saudi Arabia Monday. He will also have talks with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Solana will then travel to Egypt, where he will meet President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, before going to Jordan and the Palestinian territories. He will wind up his visit in Israel, where he will meet Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Solana "will be meeting leading figures of the Arab and Islamic worlds for talks aimed at promoting dialogue and restoring and furthering relations of friendship and mutual respect between Europe and the Islamic world," his office said in a statement.

Protests, sometimes violent, against foreign diplomatic missions, have swept the Muslim world, reports the AP.


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