Int'l Community must address “catastrophic” Mideast situation – Ayrault

PARIS, May 20 (KUNA) — The international community must carry out a “diagnostic” of the problems that have blocked the Middle East peace process and come up with blue prints to address the “catastrophic situation”, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday.
Speaking on “France 2” television, the French top diplomat said that violence is gaining ground between Israelis and Palestinians, expecting a very broad participation of interested parties at a ministerial meeting on the Middle East situation to be held in Paris on June 3.
France is organising the meeting, which will not include Israeli or Palestinian representatives, a reflection of how blocked the situation is and the difficulties in having any dialogue between the main protagonists.
President Francois Hollande is to open the meeting, Ayrault said, and this will give it heightened importance.
Participants will include members of the UN Security Council, representatives of the Arab League nations, and also Germany, Italy and the Middle East Quartet, which includes also the UN and the European Union.
“There is awareness that we cannot resign ourselves to this catastrophic situation. We have to give renewed hope,” Ayrault indicated.
He said the aim of the ministerial gathering would be “to create the conditions for an international conference and then to allow again for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians,” but he acknowledged this was “a difficult job.” He stressed that “the aim remains a two-State solution” but he recognised that the international community must come together to see where the problems currently lie.
These include “the pursuit of settlements which is a danger” but he also pointed to “Palestinians who are divided” and he warned that “violence is winning out” on both sides.
The Foreign Minister said that the preparations for a major international conference on the Middle East – at Summit level – would take several months and he noted it has been nine years since such a high-level meeting on the region took place. (end) jk.hb

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