We had this afternoon a meeting of the Quartet principals, following the last one we had in Munich, in February, to work together – EU, US, UN and Russia – on concrete steps on the ground in the absence of the peace process in the Middle East. We have decided to revitalize the Quartet activities. As you might know, our envoys to the Quartet have been working together very hard in these last months. They have been visiting together a number of regional key actors, in particular Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, as a way of involving them in a common effort to restart the engine of the peace process. And focus on what is probably the most viable, maybe the only viable way, today, which is focus on concrete steps on the ground, and in particular on encouraging the parties to start implementing the already signed agreements. We believe this can be a very important step in the right direction to preserve the opportunity to have two states. And start rebuilding trust and confidence, both in Israel and in Palestine, in the other party, and in the process itself. This is what we have decided; this is what we have asked our envoys to work on. This is also what I am going to discuss right now – so, sorry I will be short – with Prime Minister Netanyahu. And this is also what we shared with some of the other key actors on this file, in the second part of the meeting. You know, our Arab friends joined us to share their opinions and their views in this respect. Let me say this is going to be essential: their full participation, and their full support to this new start, as the key interpreters of the Arab Peace Initiative that especially with a security situation we have now in the region is a main interest for all the parties involved. A regional security framework can be extremely useful and interesting for all the parties, not only of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but also in the region and worldwide. Because what we have seen today is the possibility of a dramatic inflammation of Jerusalem. The risk that if we don’t act, if the leaders on the ground don’t act, this can be a major source of radicalization, not only in the region, but worldwide. So, there is urgency, and there is an international effort to encourage, to support, to invite the parties and to accompany them on this, to start from what has been already agreed. What has already been agreed can be implemented – just do it.
Q: On President Abbas’s statement at the General Assembly and possible impact on the work of Quartet
I have listened very carefully to his words; we discussed that, two days ago. He told me about his intentions, and I have interpreted these words as a scenario that is going to happen if – and there is an ‘if’. Now, on that ‘if’ we will have to work. That is telling us the urgency of the international and regional community to engage the Israeli leadership to have concrete steps on the ground to implement the agreements that are already there; and also the Palestinian leadership to engage in national reconciliation and in direct negotiations. And we are there to support, we are there to encourage, we are there to help if we can, because for sure it’s an alarm and it’s a serious one. And I think the whole world, from East Asia to Latin America looks at this, because this has a strong symbolic power for everybody in the world. This is not something unrelated to what we were discussing this morning in the Security Council on the fight against terrorism and Da’esh. This is not something unrelated to what we are discussing when we talk about solving the political crisis or the conflicts around the world. It seems to be the ‘little’ crisis that has been there for decades – still maybe today, out of all the crises we have in front of us, that is the one that is possible to solve; if we have enough leadership, enough political will and enough international and regional support to push in that direction.
Q: On Russia’s air strike in Syria
I’m here to comment on the Middle East Peace Process – help me keeping this issue on the agenda. However, I can tell you, the European Union itself is not engaged in the military side of the fight against Da’esh. Still we recognize that the military component of this fight is an important one. And as I said today in the Security Council, it is time to join forces; this is time for the international community to unite on an agenda that keeps together two sides: the security one – the fight against Da’esh that has a military component and not only – and the starting of a political process, leading to a peaceful inclusive transition for Syria. The two sides of the same coin have to go together. And I hope, I believe, there is space for the international community to join forces on both sides of this coin.