CAIRO: A meeting between the Quartet, the Palestinian Authority, and Israeli leaders will take place in Egypt mid-July, announced EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
Toward the middle of the month, we will recuperate this initiative, he said.
Political analyst from the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Emad Gad told The Daily Star Egypt that he believed the countries were very close to negotiating a peace treaty delineating a two-state solution “very close to what former PM Arafat was said to have been offered at the 2000 Camp David meeting.
He believes that ” ‘moderate’ Palestinians are ready to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
While the Quartet meeting was postponed from late June due to high tensions within the Palestinian territories, Gad explains that the situation is very different now.
“It is looking positive in the West Bank, he says, where Israel has returned tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority and the EU has resumed relations with the territory. Abbas is also supported by the US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
Abbas is actually stronger than before, explains Gad, as he and his Fatah party no longer need to take approval or agreement from Hamas, as was the case under their unity government.
“Hamas is now controlling Gaza only.
The meeting will also represent former British PM Tony Blair’s first test as Middle East envoy for the Quartet – composed of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States.
Despite being generally considered pro-Israel, Abbas had welcomed Blair as the new representative, saying the Arabs were ready to deal with Blair as mideast negotiator.
“Blair can play a positive role in convincing the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate, says Gad. He explains that Blair’s close ties to US President Bush put him in an advantageous position, as the US is in a position to pressure the Israelis to resume negotiations.