French Foreign Minister Suggests Formation of International Group to Push Middle East Peace Talks

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Maison des Océans in Paris, March 17, 2015. (AFP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Maison des Océans in Paris, March 17, 2015. (AFP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)

France floated the idea on Monday of a new international group to spur negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. In so doing, the French seemed to dial back from an earlier proposal to get the United Nations Security Council involved in the gnarled and stuck Middle East peace talks.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France described his idea as an alternative to the all-but-defunct Middle East quartet, made up of envoys representing the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. Mr. Fabius said a new group — “a kind of quartet plus” — should include representatives of the Arab world.

“It makes sense, and everyone must acknowledge that the Arabs who are part and parcel of the region and who are all interested in a solution would be involved,” he told reporters Monday in a briefing at the United Nations headquarters. “It’s reasonable.”

Mr. Fabius’s remarks followed his visit to the Middle East, where he met with Arab leaders and with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who dismissed the need for Security Council involvement in any peace talks on the Palestinian issue.

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SOURCE: SOMINI SENGUPTA
The New York Times

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