France wants EU seat at Mideast peace talks

PARIS — France wants the European Union to have a seat at the table during next week's start of US-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in Washington, according to a statement made by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner Friday.
Kouchner said 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 made a speech to French ambassadors and said 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 US administration is hoping for a breakthrough during the new rounds of negotiations set to begin September 2.
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