France wants a new international group made up of the United States, European powers and Arab countries to be set up to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday.
"It could be a sort of Quartet-plus," Fabius told reporters, according to AFP, referring to the foursome led by former British prime minister Tony Blair that included the United States, Russia, the European Union.
Fabius said including Arab states "makes sense" because they have a role to play in the peace process and have put forward a plan in 2002 that the foreign minister described as "interesting."
The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria in exchange for full normalization of ties between
Israel and the Arab world.
"It will be necessary to have an international accompanying body," Fabius told reporters in New York where he was to attend a United Nations meeting on climate change.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been comatose since US diplomatic efforts failed in April of last year.
Resolution may not be necessary
Fabius appeared to be taking a step back from France's proposal to present a draft resolution to the UN Security Council that would set a timetable for reaching a final Israeli-Palestinian deal.
"The resolution is a tool, not an end in itself," he stressed.
"The first thing is this question of getting back to negotiation and having this international accompanying body and if a resolution – if and when a resolution is necessary – we will think about it," he said.
Fabius had said in late March that France would begin talks on a draft resolution but a question mark remained over whether the United States, Israel's close ally, would back such an initiative.
"France is keen about not abandoning this problem," he said, adding that the risk of an "explosion" in the region was real.
"At any moment, Daesh can interfere," he said, referring to ISIS. "It would be highly damageable if the most radical of the radicals … were to seize a pretext" to meddle in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.