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12 December 2006
ontinuing to expand cooperation
Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Chancellery for a discussion of bilateral relations and international affairs, particularly the situation in the Middle East. This was Olmert's first visit to Berlin.
Speaking at a press conference after their meeting, Merkel noted that relations with Israel are of major importance for Germany, adding that she wants to continue to expand cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the areas of science, research, and youth exchange.
Intensifying Quartet efforts
Merkel said Germany will make use of its EU presidency to help move the Middle East peace process forward. She reaffirmed her intention to intensify Quartet efforts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians and indicated agreement between her and Olmert on the role of the Quartet.
Olmert said Israel will make every effort to facilitate a dialogue with the Palestinians and that Germany will have an opportunity to exert an active influence on the political processes in the Middle East during its EU presidency.
The Quartet, consisting of the EU, the United States, Russia, and the United Nations, has tried for four years now to pave the way for a Middle East peace settlement.