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Jordan, Egypt and EU urge renewal of Israel-Palestinian talks

AMMAN (AFP): The foreign ministers of Jordan, Egypt, France and Germany on Thursday urged Israel and the Palestinians to engage in “credible dialogue” to restore “hope” to the peace process.

“Ending the stalemate in peace talks, the creation of political horizons and the restoration of hope through credible dialogue must be a priority,” they said in a statement.

The meeting comes after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain formally established full diplomatic ties with Israel, the third and fourth Arab states to do so after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been frozen since 2014, and a US peace plan announced in January has been welcomed by Israel and rejected outright by the Palestinians as biased.

After Thursday’s meeting, the ministers stressed “the urgency of the resumption of serious, meaningful and effective negotiations on the basis of international law and agreed parameters directly between the parties or under the UN umbrella.”

“We call upon the parties to commit to past agreements and to resume credible dialogue on this basis,” they said. The meeting was also attended by the EU’s envoy for the peace process.

The ministers also met Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who reiterated a long-held position that ending the conflict required “a two-state solution with an independent (and) viable Palestinian state” based on pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the Palestinians’ capital.

The UAE and Bahrain signed accords normalizing ties with Israel at a September 15 ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump.

Under the deal with Abu Dhabi, the Jewish state pledged to suspend its planned annexation of lands in the West Bank.

“This suspension should become permanent,” the ministers said Thursday, stressing the “importance” of the UAE and Bahrain deals. “The Israelis and Palestinians must quickly resume dialogue,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told journalists.

“In the immediate term, we must rebuild confidence to allow the relaunching of the negotiation process, which is in the interest of both parties.”

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned of the dangers of “a political stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.” “There has to be progress towards a comprehensive and just peace,” he said.

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