Diplomatic efforts to stop the violence in the Middle East are continuing.French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoken to his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas while France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner telephoned Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. He was apparently trying to negotiate a humanitarian truce, with a view to ending Israeli operations in the Strip. The European Union’s foreign ministers will meet in Paris this evening to discuss the worsening situation in Gaza. France, which holds the bloc’s rotating presidency until Thursday, organised the initiative with the Czech Republic, which is next to head up the EU. The European Union has also said it is ready to send more aid, both humanitarian and economic, to Gaza.