Israel-Palestinian violence an obstacle to new peace initiative: Kerry

13th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence could hamper French efforts to revive the peace process, but pledged "we are all looking for a way forward."

"The United States and myself remain deeply, deeply committed to a two-state solution," Kerry said after a Paris meeting with his counterparts from France, Italy, Britain, Germany and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"At the moment it is a difficult one, because of the violence that has been taking place, and there are not many people in Israel or in the region itself right now that believe in the possibilities of peace because of those levels of violence," he added.

Kerry's comments came after his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault said he would present proposals to revive talks to EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday.

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains but is getting worse, the status quo cannot last," Ayrault said in Paris.

The newly-appointed French foreign minister visited Cairo last week to drum up support for the initiative to hold an international conference by the summer to revive peace talks.

A previous round of talks brokered by Kerry collapsed in April 2014.

"There's not any one country or one person can resolve this. This is going to require the global community, it will require international support," said Kerry.

Senior French diplomat Pierre Vimont is touring Israel, the Palestinian territories and other countries in the region to discuss the proposal before heading to Washington next week.

Mogherini said France was coordinating its proposals with the EU as part of "joint efforts to try and create conditions for a two-state solution".

The renewed efforts to resolve one of the world's oldest conflicts come amid a wave of violence which has seen Palestinians carry out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

Since October 1, 188 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have died, according to an AFP count.

Most of the Palestinians were killed while carrying out attacks, Israeli authorities say.

Others were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes or demonstrations.

Many analysts say Palestinian frustration with Israeli occupation and settlement building in the West Bank, the complete lack of progress in peace efforts and their own fractured leadership have fed the unrest.

Israel blames incitement by Palestinian leaders and media as a main cause of the violence.

© 2016 AFP

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