The EU will look into creating an “international support group” to restart the peace process in the Middle East. It has been at a standstill since the last American intervention in 2014 failed.
“Putting an international support group in place would be one way of encouraging” Israel and Palestine to start negotiating again, says the European Union’s Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers, which met in Brussels on Monday. “The Council has asked the High representative (for Foreign Affairs) to look at how it could be set up, with the help of regional and international parties”, the text reads. It has been approved by the 28 diplomatic chiefs.
The head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, must show them what she has achieved at the start of September. “The UE has invested a lot in the Middle East peace process. The idea of an international support group is one we will look at over the next few weeks”, Mrs Mogherini said during a press conference. “We need to get a better regional picture. I will know if it is possible once I have spoken with regional bodies”, she said.
The French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, who considers restarting the peace process a priority, agreed with the idea. “The Middle East peace process has come to a standstill. The situation over there is bad. Europe needs to help the two parties take initiatives to break the deadlock”, Mr Fabius said, just before the Minister’s Council started. To help it along, France wants to create “a larger support group” for the Middle East, bigger than the current Quartette (US, Russia, the EU and UN). It wants to include Security Council members, members of the Arab League and European countries.
Founded in 2002, the Quartette has no Arab members. As of yet, it has not been able to play any sort of influential role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Some source say the international support group could first meet around the time of the UN General Assembly in New York, which will take place in September. Direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine stopped in April 2014. The American State Secretary John Kerry couldn’t get them talking again, despite intense diplomatic efforts.