BRUSSELS U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday welcomed French and Egyptian efforts to revive peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians and said he would attend an international conference in Paris on June 3 that hopes to set out a framework for fresh negotiations.
U.S. efforts to broker a two-state deal collapsed in April 2014, and Kerry said any peace effort would require compromise from both sides.
"The parties themselves have to make the decision to negotiate and in that clearly there will have to be some compromise, without compromise it is not possible," Kerry told a news conference during a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.
"I will work with the French, I will work with the Egyptians, I will work with the Arab community in good faith in an effort to see if we can find a way to help the parties see their way to come back," he added.
Kerry was in Cairo on Wednesday to further explore a proposal by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday to mediate a reconciliation between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The gathering of ministers in Paris is set to include the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations), the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries, without Israeli or Palestinian participation.
Diplomats say the meeting will package all the economic incentives and other guarantees that various countries have offered in previous years to create an agenda for an autumn peace conference.
While objecting to the French initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stopped short of saying Israel would boycott the conference.
A French diplomat said it was vital that the United States, a key Israeli ally, was at the conference.
"The Americans know they have to be part of this and have been making useful suggestions," the diplomat said, adding, "The initiative is a gamble, but keeping the status quo is not viable either."
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Robin Emmott in Brussels and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Hugh Lawson)
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Published Date: May 20, 2016 12:02 am | Updated Date: May 20, 2016 12:02 am