French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner
Photo: AFP

France wants EU seat at Mideast peace talks

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says European Union should have seat at next week's start of US-backed peace talks between Israel, Palestinians, writes letter to EU foreign policy chief expressing concern

France wants the European Union to have a seat at the table during next week's start of US-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington.


French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says it would be "too bad" if the EU were locked out - noting the bloc's political involvement in the region and its role as a top contributor of financial aid to the Palestinians.


Kouchner said in a speech Friday to French ambassadors that he has written a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing his concern.


The talks were shelved two years ago, but the US administration is hoping for a breakthrough during the new rounds of negotiations set to begin September 2.


Earlier Friday, it was also reported that the Israeli Foreign Ministry would have representatives at the talks: Head of the ministry's Mideast department, Yaakov Hadas, and a member of its legal department Daniel Taub. "This is a small professional team, that will work seriously, and cooperate with maximum discretion," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.


On Thursday, Netanyahu convened his advisors for a preparation discussion ahead of the restart of direct talks with.


Thursday evening's meeting was attended by the prime minister's special delegate to the negotiations, Attorney Yitzhak Molcho, National Security Advisor Uzi Arad, Chief of Staff Natan Eshel, Director of Policy Planning Ron Dremer, and National Information Directorate head Nir Hefetz.


Netanyahu informed his advisors that Attorney Molcho would be his chief negotiator. He offered the Americans to lead the peace process himself in the format of "direct talks between leaders every two weeks."


According to the prime minister's suggestion, he would meet with Abbas every fortnight, and together they would try to reach quiet understandings on fundamental issues. The parties' teams would discuss the details later on.


Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 08.27.10, 23:14
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