Riad Malki, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), is going to meet this week with the foreign ministers of the IBSA, a group comprising India, Brazil and South Africa, to discuss the peace process in the Middle East.
“It is in their (the Palestinians’) best interest for the IBSA to have a more substantial participation, for the IBSA to speak out more on the matter,” said the secretary general for Politics II at the Brazilian foreign office (Itamaraty), Roberto Jaguaribe, in a press conference last week.
This week, brazil is going to host a series of international meetings that will end with the fourth IBSA summit and the second summit of the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China). The presidents of China, Hu Jintao, Russia, Dmitri Medvedev, and South Africa, Jacob Zuma, and the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, will be in attendance.
According to Jaguaribe, the meeting of the PNA and the IBSA is going to take place by request of Malki himself, “to whom the IBSA may play a key role in this peace process.”
In his assessment, this is proof that the group’s political and diplomatic success is perceived on an international level. “The IBSA is a group known for its impartiality and balanced perspectives, which may favor an understanding,” stated the diplomat.
He added that Palestinians and Israelis alike are frustrated with the “inability to reach an effective result” after decades of conflict. In that respect, Jaguaribe repeated what the Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in March, in his latest tour of the Middle East, which included Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan.
First off, he claimed that the conflict transcends the regional realm, as it affects the entire world in different ways; then he stated that the United Nations (UN) should play the role of chief mediator; and lastly, that “different views” should be discussed in order to make it easier for an understanding to be reached.
The Brazilian government has been calling for the inclusion of new players in the process, currently in the hands of the so-called “Quartet,” comprising the UN, the United States, Russia, and the European Union.
Jaguaribe underscored that the involvement of other countries has led negotiations to move forward in the past, as was the case with Norway, which sponsored the Oslo Accords, in 1993, established by the then-Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, both now deceased.
“The participation of new players may contribute to make the process easier,” said the ambassador, who added that new players may bring in new ideas and “breathe new life” into the negotiations.
Last year, the IBAS Fund, maintained by the three countries, announced a US$ 1 million donation for building a sports complex in Ramallah, in the West Bank.