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European Press Review: Middle East "Road Map" Out of Road

The resignation of Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas dominated the editorial pages of Europe’s major newspapers on Monday, and there was plenty of blame to go around.


In a challenging position: Nominee for Palestinian prime minister Ahmed Qurei

The Roman daily Corriere della Sera implied that Ahmed Querei, the nominee for Palestinian prime minister, would face the same fate as his predecessor Mahmoud Abbas. “The challenge -- and this Ahmed Querei knows very well -- lies not only in achieving an internal consensus, but also in getting reforms in gear that will give the government control over all security services -- and that means acquiring exactly the control that [Palestinian President Yassir] Arafat will not give up.”

In Paris, La Charente Libre called on Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations to intervene. “The USA's three partners, which are officially part of the quartet promoting the 'road map for peace,' have to meet their responsibilities and launch a far-reaching initiative. It is time to move beyond the Pax Americana, which has yielded disaster for six years. Russia and the EU must empower the Security Council to implement a long-overdue U.N. action,” the paper wrote.

The Financial Times of London said the road map has “run out of road,” and blamed all the parties concerned for the failure. “The road map was a flawed blueprint for peace, unlikely to get anywhere unless the U.S. applied serious pressure to its Israeli ally,” the paper wrote. “It did not, so Mr. Abbas stood no chance of winning his battle for supremacy with Yassir Arafat.”

Looking ahead at local issues, Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung pondered who would run for office in 2006. “Wolfgang Schäuble is the best man that the CDU [Christian Democratic Union] has for the highest office of the land,” the paper says, “and Jutta Limbach is the best woman that the Social Democratic Party can present. Both candidates are highly presidential. Limbach’s name is the only one that can head off what appears to be a certain victory for the CDU. The woman, who says of herself that she has never had to battle what she calls "gender-specific adversity" could actually create a gender-specific adversity for the opposition. The allure of becoming the first woman president could shatter the party discipline of the CDU and the [Free Democratic Party].”