European foreign ministers have given their support Saturday to the intense efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
"We support the efforts of the Secretary of State (John) Kerry ," EU Forgiven Policy Chief Catherine Ashton said following a meeting of the European foreign ministers in Athens.
"There is no doubt that the initiative of Mr. Kerry at a critical juncture," German Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier said. "The radicals from both parties seem to be taking over (of talks). We must try to avoid that," he added.
Kerry said on Friday there were “limits” to the time and energy Washington could devote to the process, adding it was time for a “reality check" by both parties.
According to AFP, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet jointly Sunday with US envoy Martin Indyk, for first three-way meeting since Wednesday when Indyk met separately with Livni and Erakat.
Kerry, who has engaged in more than a year of intensive shuttle diplomacy, had spoken to both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders Thursday in a bid to bring the two sides back from the brink.
But Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas rejected his appeals to withdraw applications he signed on Tuesday to adhere to 15 international treaties, a Palestinian official said.
And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored appeals to refrain from “unhelpful” tit-for-tat moves, asking officials to draw up a range of tough reprisals, Israeli media reported.
Israel says Abbas’s move is a clear breach of promises made by the Palestinians when peace talks were re-launched in July to pursue no other avenues for recognition of their promised state.
The Palestinians say Israel had already reneged on its own commitments by failing to release a fourth and final batch of Arab prisoners last weekend, and that the treaty move was their response.