LONDON Ñ The European Union is drafting a timetable for
an Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and Syria.
EU officials said several European leaders have agreed to an effort to
draft a so-called roadmap for an Israeli withdrawal from territory claimed
by Lebanon and Syria. They said the withdrawal would be determined in a
timetable that would also include a cessation of war and eventual diplomatic
In the 1967 war, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria. Lebanon
asserts that Israel has also occupied a sliver of land along the border of
the two countries.
The EU effort is meant to work in parallel with the roadmap for an
Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. The EU is part of a group that includes
the United States, United Nations and Russia that has drafted a plan for an
interim Palestinian state by the end of the year.
Officials said the EU has concluded that a similar effort for an Israeli
withdrawal timetable is required for Lebanon and Syria for them to join
Middle East peace efforts. They said the proposal is being promoted by EU
foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
"I believe that Mr. Solana, for Europe, is reflecting on the elaboration
of a roadmap for Syria and Lebanon," French President Jacques Chirac said
during the G-8 summit of industrialized nations on Monday. "It is evident
that the roadmap of the Quartet hardly concerns Syria and Lebanon."
Chirac raised the issue of a peace initiative with Lebanon and Syria
during his meeting with U.S. President George Bush on Monday. Officials said
Bush did not express any commitment to the plan.
Officials said an EU roadmap for Lebanon and Syria would result in
greater input by France, regarded as an ally of both countries.
Solana is expected to complete a draft of roadmap for Lebanon and Syria
within the next few weeks. At that point, officials said, he is expected to
submit the plan to the 15 EU member states.