Swedish Foreign Minister Home After Middle East Visit
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has returned to Sweden after his visit the Middle East along with other European Union colleagues who have been insisting that both sides in the Gaza conflict must realize that they can not benefit with continued violence.
Bildt argues that EU input in the crisis is more important than ever and that some progress is being made - such as laying the groundwork for the Egyptian offer for a cease fire between Israel and Hammas in the Gaza Strip.
Representing Sweden as the upcoming president of the EU, Carl Bildt was travelling with representatives from the present president, the Czech Republic and other EU officials - visiting Jerusalem, Cairo and Ramallah.
Bildt disagrees with comments from a former Norwegian Middle East mediator who claims that contact should be taken with Hamas directly - and maintains that it is sufficient to meet with the rival PLO.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Embassy in Jerusalem says although most of the 300 Swedish cititzens in the Gaza have expressed their eagerness to be evacuated from the war zone, they and all other foreigners continued to remain trapped in the area.