AMMAN: Jordan and Egypt are emerging as potential new members of the international Quartet for Mideast peace after the foreign ministers of both countries joined a meeting of the multilateral forum in Cairo on Monday.
The Quartet consisting of the UN, the EU, the US and Russia was set up in 2002 to help mediate Middle East peace negotiations.
Jordan’s 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 Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, according to a statement by Jordan’s Foreign Ministry.
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 was discussed in the last days of the Obama administration, I don’t think that it will be decided until the Biden administration takes over and begins to make its position public,” he said.
Rantawi said that Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE also may be invited to participate.
Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the UN, welcomed the potential expansion of the Quartet.
“If the nucleus of the international community’s approach to resolving the Middle East conflict is the Quartet, we would like to talk about its enlargement,” he said.
Mansour said that Egypt and Jordan could be the first additions, with other countries to follow later.
He told the Al-Monitor news website that when the 2007 Middle East peace talks were planned for Annapolis in the US, few countries signed up. “But within a short period of time, everyone wanted to attend. Fifty countries ended up joining the talks.”
Ahmad Deek, director-general at the office of the Palestinian foreign minister, told Arab News that Palestinians are hoping for the return of a “sane international order” following the Trump era.
“We are looking forward to a period in which international law and the concept of collective multilateral efforts become the norm again in foreign policy conflict resolution,” he said.
Najeeb Qadoumi, a member of the Palestinian National Council, said there is optimism 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 around,” Qadoumi said.
“Jordan, which has suffered from the absence of a resolution of the Palestinian conflict and especially the status of refugees, will contribute to any efforts.”