The EU said Monday it will explore setting up a new international format to breathe life back into the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, fresh from her role in the Iran nuclear deal, said she was working on an idea for an “international support group.”
“We have invested a lot as the EU” in trying to revive the moribund Middle East peace process, Mogherini said after a meeting of the bloc’s 28 foreign ministers in Brussels.
“The idea of an international support group is one that we will explore in coming weeks. We will come back to it once I have discussed it with regional actors,” she said.
Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister, said the torturous but ultimately successful Iran talks showed that even the toughest problems could be resolved through diplomacy.
US Secretary of State John Kerry led intense efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table in April last year but finally gave up, leaving the process dead in the water ever since.
Mogherini rejected suggestions that the proposal could undercut other peace efforts including that of the Middle East Quartet of the UN, Russia, the United States and the EU.
Her comments were echoed by the EU foreign ministers who said in a statement that “securing a just and lasting peace will require an increased common international effort.”
“The establishment of an International support group is a possible way to contribute to this end,” it said.
Mogherini will report back to them by September, they added.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said earlier Monday the peace process was “effectively dead” and Europe had to help the two sides find a way out of the impasse.
Last month, Fabius suggested that a new group — “a sort of Quartet-plus” — should be considered.
He said including Arab states would make sense, based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem in exchange for full normalization of ties between Israel and the Arab world.
Mogherini has repeatedly urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace negotiation based on the two-state solution, saying the situation on the ground cannot continue.