Wed 22 May 2024 8:52 pm - Jerusalem Time

Arab and European ministers discuss the Gaza war and peace efforts next week

Ministers from Arab countries will meet with their counterparts from European Union countries in Brussels on Monday to try to chart a common path to ending the war in the Gaza Strip and achieving lasting peace, said Sven Koopmans, the European Union's Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process.

Koopmans added that representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE will join a regular meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

He pointed out that the meeting comes within the framework of a series of moves through which Arab and European countries seek to reach common positions on ways to end the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

“Our task is to find out how to build a coalition in which we collectively try to contribute (to peace efforts) without putting people in an awkward position,” Koopmans told Reuters.

There are divisions and disagreements in the European Union regarding the war in Gaza. These differences were evident again on Wednesday when Spain and Ireland, both members of the European Union, announced, along with Norway, their intention to recognize a Palestinian state, while France and Germany made it clear beyond a doubt that they do not believe that the time is right for such a step.

Israel carried out a new intensification of its operations in the central Gaza Strip on Monday. The war has so far killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Ministry of Health there.

Koopmans said that European Union members agreed on pivotal priorities, such as ending the war, avoiding the situation escalating into a broader war in the region, and working towards a peace settlement in which Israel can live side by side with a Palestinian state.

He continued, saying, "We may have different positions on the issue of recognition, but we have consensus on the need for a Palestinian state."

But international efforts to reach consensus on plans for what will happen in the Gaza Strip after the war, in matters such as who will govern the Strip and who will be responsible for security there, have faltered.

Koopmans declined to provide further details of Monday's discussions, but said that major efforts involving the United States and Arab and European countries were necessary to reach peace.

“One party alone is not enough,” he added. But if we work together, if we work to achieve something tangible together, perhaps we will be enough to at least give things a start.”

The administration of US President Joe Biden has previously stated clearly that it also supports the two-state solution as a basis for permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians, in addition to security guarantees for Israel.

Source: Reuters


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Arab and European ministers discuss the Gaza war and peace efforts next week