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Poland offers help to foster West Asia dialogue

Written by: Staff
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WARSAW, Sep 14 (Reuters) Poland's President Lech Kaczynski has offered help to foster a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior official said today.

Kaczynski returned from a visit to the West Asia where he held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

''We have offered both sides our help and we are ready to help to reach a dialogue between them,'' Andrzej Krawczyk, Kaczynski's foreign policy adviser, told a news conference. ''The president has made that offer during his visit,'' he said.

Nearly 1,200 people in Lebanon, mainly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mainly soldiers, were killed in a 34-day war between Israel and Hizbollah guerillas triggered by Hizbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers on July 12.

Israel has been gradually pulling forces out of Lebanon since a UN resolution in August halted fighting. But the European Union's and the Arab League's push to revive the Middle East peace process, so far brought little progress.

Krawczyk said he believed that Poland, the biggest ex-communist EU member, could be a successful mediator because it had good relations with both sides of the conflict and was one of the leading allies of the United States in Europe.

''Poland is an objective and credible country ... It has excellent relations with Israel and had always good relations with the Palestinians,'' he told Reuters.

He added that Poland would wait for both sides to respond to its offer.

REUTERS LL BST2232

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