The European Union has appointed a new Middle East envoy; Andreas Reinicke, Germany’s ambassador to Syria. Reinicke, who will represent EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in the region, replaces Marc Otte, who is ending his tenure in the post.
The EU said in a statement that Reinicke will “contribute to achieving the EU’S policy objectives in the region, including a comprehensive peace, a two-state solution and a settlement of the Israeli-Syrian and Israeli-Lebanese conflicts.
There was no mention in the EU statement of the violent civil war currently raging in Syria at present, which has thus far taken the lives of some 6,000 civilians, and wounded thousands more -- not including an additional 2,000 security personnel the Assad government claims were killed by “terrorists” and “armed gangs” over the past 10 months.
The statement also did not refer to the contract inked last week between Moscow and Damascus, enabling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to aquire 36 Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat jet trainers from Russia at a cost of $550 million -- a deadly gift that could lead to even more civilian deaths.
The Russian aerospace company Irkut has agreed to product the jets for the Syrian government in the coming months, according to a source quoted by the Kommersant daily newspaper in an article published the same day the EU announced Reinicke's appointment.
Nor was there any mention of the internecine violence that has wracked Lebanon.
Last month five French soldiers serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near Tyre – the third time the force was targeted in such an attack within the year. A total of 16 UNIFIL troops – six Italian peacekeepers and 10 French soldiers – were wounded in action in Lebanon “keeping the peace” last year.
Also in December 2011, a 2-kilogram bomb exploded at dawn on the staircase of a waterfront restaurant in the southern city of Tyre, traumatizing neighbors, and destroying the picturesque establishment. The attack occurred just meters from the Queen Elissa Hotel, targeted in a similar bombing just a month earlier, along with a nearby store.
It is believed that all three places were attacked by Islamist extremists because they sold alcohol.