EU seeks new format to help revive Mideast peace process

AP News
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Posted: Jul 20, 2015 2:07 PM
EU seeks new format to help revive Mideast peace process

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top diplomat is looking for a fresh formula to revive the now moribund peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Federica Mogherini, who chaired negotiations that led to a deal on Iran's nuclear program, said Monday she's working on fleshing out an idea for "an international support group." The group would build on the existing "quartet" of the EU, United States, Russia and the United Nations.

Right now "there seems to be no peace process at all" between Israel and the Palestinians, Mogherini said.

She said a new regional and international framework is necessary to foster a more positive environment.

Mogherini spoke to reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers, who said in a statement that leaving the status quo unchanged "is not an option."

To improve the chances for concluding a "just and lasting peace," the ministers asked Mogherini to explore the possibilities for establishing the support group, and to report back to them in early September.

"It's an idea that needs to be explored," Mogherini told reporters. It would be the first time in years that the format for Mideast peace talks would be broadened to include new actors, the EU official added.

In their statement, EU ministers also called for the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state that would live side by side and in peace with Israel. They said there "is no alternative to a negotiated two-state solution."

"The regional context, including the ongoing radicalization and spread of terrorism, makes it even more urgent to end the conflict," EU ministers said.