French Foreign Minister Says Big 4 is Only Route to Settlement

The Foreign Minister of France took a hard-line stance on the Big Four today as the sole means of bringing peace to the Middle East. Maurice Schumann, whose country under former President Charles de Gaulle, authored the concept of the Big Four, told the General Assembly that the quartet must pursue peace “unrelentingly.”

“To thwart or to contest” its efforts, he said, “would be to assume the heavy responsibility of placing an obstacle before the only method that can lead to a general, equitable and lasting settlement.” Mr. Schumann told the 126-nation assembly during general debate that a settlement “will have to include measures of an international nature making it possible to insure the preservation and the protection of all the Holy Places as well as their free access by all.”

Establishment of a “just and lasting peace” that would take into account all the parties’ “legitimate interest” would “appear beyond our reach if we were not determined to overcome sadness and apprehension,” Mr. Schumann said. The concerted consultations of the Big Four, which France proposed last January, has “made it possible to examine in detail the different aspects of the conflict and the possibilities for settlement consistent with the spirit of the charter and UN resolutions,” the diplomat said.

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