AMMAN: Jordan and Egypt are emerging as potential new members of the International Middle East Peace Quartet after foreign ministers from the two countries joined a meeting of the multilateral forum in Cairo on Monday.
The Quartet made up of the UN, EU, US and Russia was established in 2002 to help mediate peace negotiations in the Middle East.
Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki were invited by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to attend the meeting, which included French Foreign Minister Jean- Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to a statement. by the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Oraib Rantawi, director of the Al-Quds Center for Political Studies, told Arab News that the idea of adding Jordan and Egypt to the Quartet had been discussed by the Obama-Biden administration.
“Although the issue has been debated in the last days of the Obama administration, I don’t think it will be resolved until the Biden administration takes over and begins to make its position public,” a- he declared.
Rantawi said Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could also be invited to participate.
Riyad Mansour, Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, hailed the Quartet’s potential expansion.
“If the core of the international community’s approach to resolving the conflict in the Middle East is the Quartet, we would like to talk about its enlargement,” he said.
Mansour said Egypt and Jordan could be the first additions, with more countries to follow later.
He told the Al-Monitor news site that when the 2007 Middle East peace talks were scheduled for Annapolis in the United States, few countries signed up. “But in a short time everyone wanted to attend. Fifty countries eventually joined the negotiations. ”
Ahmad Deek, chief of staff of the Palestinian foreign minister, told Arab News that the Palestinians hope for the return of a “healthy international order” after the Trump era.
“We look forward to a period when international law and the concept of collective multilateral efforts will once again become the norm in the resolution of foreign policy conflicts,” he said.
Najeeb Qadoumi, member of the Palestinian National Council, said he was optimistic that current efforts will yield positive results.
“There is no doubt that the Palestinian cause will return to the center of attention when Trump is no longer there,” Qadoumi said.
“Jordan, which has suffered from the lack of resolution of the Palestinian conflict and in particular the status of refugees, will contribute to all efforts.”