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"As is" reference - not a United Nations document

Source: Denmark
16 March 2006

PM begins Middle East listening tour

Denmark's prime minister began his tour to the Middle East on Tuesday. He plans to use the trip to listen to Mid East leaders, not lecture them

When Israeli and Palestinian leaders meet with Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen later this week, they can expect to meet with a man ready to listen, not lecture.

Rasmussen underlined on Tuesday that he was in the Middle East to listen to the problems faced by Middle East leaders, not to issue demands to them.

"The point can't be to come from Europe and begin to make demands on the individual players. They have it hard enough as it is. If we come from the outside with a dozen different demands, then it's doomed to fail. I think that we need to go about the task a little more humbly and not come with a European background, thinking that we can solve everything. Maybe, we should just ask: Friends, is there anything we can do for you to move along in this process?" said Rasmussen speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Rasmussen stated that his trip to the Middle East had three goals. First, he was to witness the re-opening of Yad Veshem, Israel's Holocaust museum. Second, while in Israel, he planned to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Third, he would also take the opportunity to promote Denmark's Arabic initiative.

"My trip is a unique opportunity to meet both Israeli and Palestinian leaders and to get a front row view of what both sides of this unfortunate conflict have in mind," said Rasmussen.

In addition to meeting with Israel's Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurie, Rasmussen will also meet with Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

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