Buoyed by the success of the EU’s actions in bringing about a solution to the Iran nuclear problem, France proposed a new framework to build alliances to push for a Middle East deal.
There were fears that with Israel’s right-wing government reacting against the Iran deal, the EU’s external action service would try to appease them by easing pressure over illegal settlements in areas earmarked for a future Palestinian state.
Mr Flanagan said, however, there was a clear commitment to the two-state solution at yesterday’s meeting.
“Today’s discussion is part of a determination on the part of the EU Foreign Affairs Council to play a stronger role in the Middle East to restart a peace process that has reached a standstill.
“The European Union can, however, make a difference. We know that events on the ground are rapidly closing the window on a possible two-state solution. A two-state solution is the policy of the union, and we must act to defend it,” he said.
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said they will compile an international support group to create the conditions to support new negotiations. They hope to get formal approval from the UN general assembly in September and a UN Security Council resolution setting the conditions for a peace agreement. She has already discussed it with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and with leaders in other countries in the region including Egypt. The support group would be broader than the quartet led by the US that failed to bridge the divide and would include EU countries, the US, Russia, Arab states and the UN.
“We will explore this in the coming weeks, with the concept being to build a regional and international framework that can lead to a process to start peace talks, Ms Mogherini said.
For years, it has been envisioned that Palestinians would have their own state to include Gaza and the West Bank, but Israel is expanding settlements in the area.