Italy, Spain and France announced Thursday that they were working on a joint peace initiative for the Middle East, local media reported.
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, fresh from phone consultations with Spanish leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and French President Jacques Chirac, said the three countries were aiming at "operative and concrete results" in the Middle East.
"The suffering and tensions (in the Middle East) have reached intolerable levels ... It is our duty to find solutions to end this situation and make preparations for a peace process," said Prodi.
Chirac told reporters during a Franco-Spanish summit in the northern Spanish town of Girona on Thursday that France, Italy and Spain "share the same views on the Middle East and therefore we have to take joint action."
The two leaders and Prodi agreed to put their proposals to a European Union summit in mid-December.
According to the reports that Prodi expressed particular concern over the spiraling violence in the Gaza Strip and the " dramatic humanitarian situation of the Palestinian population."
Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema also stressed that the Italo-French-Spanish plan would need the backing of the rest of the EU.
The former premier said the aim was to get a ceasefire resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council which would "revive the peace process and get the two sides negotiating. "