French minister says Paris meeting for Mideast peace needed

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2016 7:38 AM

PARIS (AP) — The French foreign minister has confirmed that Paris will host an international meeting on May 30 to try to restart peace efforts between Palestinians and Israel — even though both sides will be absent.

Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday Arab nations will be among the 20 countries present, but "for the moment there is no dialogue" between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ayrault, speaking on Europe 1 radio, said new efforts are needed because "we are witnessing desperation, and desperation leads to violence."

France has pushed to play a larger role in Middle East peace efforts, dominated by the United States.

"I think we must unify our efforts," Ayrault said. Still, he added without elaboration his hope that "before the end of his mandate (President Barack) Obama will take an initiative."

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This version corrects final Ayrault quote to show he said "before the end of his mandate," not before the end of this month.