EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday urged Israel Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to meet Quartet representatives “within days” in the hope of kick-starting stalled peace talks.
“I have asked both Netanyahu and Abbas to receive the Quartet envoys in the coming days, not weeks,” Mogherini said, stressing the need for speed if an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians is not to spiral out of control.
The Quartet comprises the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia and was set up in 2002 to promote what is known as the Middle East Peace Process.
The peace talks, always difficult, stalled completely in 2014 despite the best efforts of US Secretary of State John Kerry but he has returned to the fray in recent weeks against a backdrop of worsening Israeli-Palestinian violence and Russia’s direct intervention in the bloody Syrian conflict.
Mogherini warned the European parliament that there is a risk the Israeli-Palestinian dispute could get caught up in new conflicts in the region if the parties do not make an effort now to secure peace based on a two-state solution.
“This is a risky time for Israelis and Palestinians alike… it is not business as usual in managing the old conflict,” she told the parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.
“If anyone believes we can just contain this… they are wrong. Every cycle of violence is going to be worse (than the previous one),” she said.
Mogherini said it was essential to build confidence, to show the two sides by concrete actions on the ground that “they have a future in their lands”.
Mogherini met Abbas in Brussels on Monday and Netanyahu last week in Berlin as part of efforts to revive the peace process.