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Ex-EU Officials Seek New Approach To Peace Process

Former EU leaders sign on to a letter addressed to Catherine Ashton and John Kerry calling on them to take a lead in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, writes Akiva Eldar.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and European Union foreign policy Chief Javier Solana address a news conference after their meeting in Ramallah February 28, 2009. The European Union executive will pledge 436 million euros ($552.6 million) of aid to Palestinians next month to help post-conflict recovery in Gaza and economic reform, the European Commission said on Friday. REUTERS/Fadi Arouri (WEST BANK) - RTXC6OX

Nineteen former most senior European Union leaders and officials sent an extraordinary letter to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing their disappointment and frustration of the failure by the US and EU to start any productive peace negotiations for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians in the last five years.

They also uttered their deep concern of the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation of the population in the Palestinian occupied territories. The signatories added that the peace process, as conceived in the Oslo agreement, "has nothing more to offer." They criticized US President Barack Obama for lack of necessary action, following his visit to Israel and Ramallah.

They call for a "new approach" and demand that Europe will play a greater role, instead of watching the failure of American diplomacy and the destruction of the Palestinian right for self-determination.

The list includes the following signatories:

  • Javier Solana, former EU high representative and former NATO secretary-general
  • Guiliano Amato, former prime minister of Italy
  • Lionel Jospin, former prime minister of France 
  • John Bruton, former prime minister of Ireland
  • Andreas van Agt, former prime minister of the Netherlands
  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former president of Latvia
  • Hubert Védrine, former foreign minister of France
  • Lena Hjelm-Wallén, former prime minister of Sweden
  • Miguel Moratinos, former foreign minister of Spain
  • Teresa Patricio Gouveia, former foreign minister of Portugal
  • Ruprecht Polenz, former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag
  • Pierre Schori, former deputy foreign minister of Sweden
  • Peter Sutherland, former EU commissioner for Agriculture
  • Hans van den Broek, former Dutch foreign minister and former EU commissioner for external relations
  • Benita Ferrero-Waldner, former European commissioner and former foreign minister of Austria
  • Jeremy Greenstock, former UK ambassador to the UN
  • Wolfgang Ischinger, former state secretary of the German Foreign Ministry
  • Frans Andriessen, former vice president of the European Commission
  • Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, former vice prime minister of the Netherlands

Akiva Eldar is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Israel Pulse. He was formerly a senior columnist and editorial writer for Haaretz and also served as the Hebrew daily’s US bureau chief and diplomatic correspondent. His most recent book (with Idith Zertal), Lords of the Land, on the Jewish settlements, was on the best-seller list in Israel and has been translated into English, German and Arabic.

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