Middle East

E.U.'s Ashton to visit Lebanon during Mideast tour

European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton speaks with the media as she arrives for a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg on Monday Oct. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS: European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton kicks off a five-day Middle East tour with a stop Monday in Jordan where she visits Zaatary refugee camp, home to some 36,000 Syrians, her office said.

During the stop, she will also meet King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, whose country is sheltering tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the 20-month conflict.

UN figures show more than 85,000 refugees registered in Jordan, with another 36,000 awaiting processing.

Ashton goes on to Beirut on Tuesday, then Jerusalem on Wednesday.

There she meets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding talks with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

She will meet Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas on Thursday.

Ashton said in a statement that the trip aimed to take forward the existing cooperation between the EU and its partners in the region.





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