France wants the European Union to have a seat at the table during next week's start of U.S.-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington.
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French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says it would be too bad if the EU were locked out, noting the bloc's political involvement in the region and its role as a top contributor of financial aid to the Palestinians.
Kouchner said in a speech Friday to French ambassadors that he has written a letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing his concern. The talks were shelved two years ago, but the U.S. administration is hoping for a breakthrough during the new rounds of negotiations set to begin Sept. 2.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has assembled the team that will manage Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians, according to a Channel 2 report. Yaakov Hadas and Daniel Taub will represent the foreign affairs ministry in the negotiations, and Yitzhak Molcho is set to lead the team.