Mideast peace needs kickstart, says France

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 7 (AFP) - The "new relationship" between the United States and Europe could help kickstart the Middle East peace process, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Friday.

PARIS, Jan 7 (AFP) - The "new relationship" between the United States and Europe could help kickstart the Middle East peace process, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Friday.

Barnier told French news channel LCI that a "new frame of mind between the Americans and the Europeans" could act as a "control lever" in relaunching the peace process, with the cooperation of Russia and the United Nations.

"The Americans and the Europeans have a historic responsibility this year to prove that their new relationship is useful by helping to get this process started again," he said.

"2005 can and must be the year for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis," the minister added.

The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations make up the so-called Middle East diplomatic quartet, which drafted last year's roadmap for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The roadmap blueprint set a 2005 target date for Palestinian statehood but has made virtually no progress since its launch last year and the United States is now aiming for a state by 2009.

Both Barnier and French President Jacjques Chirac have said the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip must be carried out in line with the roadmap.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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