U.S. not bringing specific proposals to Middle East peace talks in Paris

A demonstrator holds a sign with a Palestinian and Israeli flag during a demonstration by Palestinian and Israeli activists calling for a better future for both people, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will not bring any specific proposals at a Paris conference meant to set out a framework for fresh negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians nor has it decided what, if any role, it may play in the French effort, a senior State Department official said on Thursday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is attending the French conference on Friday, which is set to include the Middle East Quartet – the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations – the Arab League, the U.N. Security Council and about 20 countries, without Israeli or Palestinian participation.

U.S. efforts to broker a two-state deal collapsed in April 2014, and Kerry has said any peace effort would require compromise from both sides.

Diplomats say the meeting will package all the economic incentives and other guarantees that various countries have offered in previous years to create an agenda for an autumn peace conference.

The United States will be in Paris “to listen to the ideas that the French and others may have, and talk through with them what might make sense going forward,” a senior State Department official said.

“We haven’t made any decisions about what, if any, our role would be in that initiative going forward,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We’re not bringing any specific proposals to this meeting.”

Previous attempts to engage the adversaries have come to nought. The Palestinians say Israeli settlement expansion denies them a viable state they seek in the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and a capital in Arab East Jerusalem.

Israel has demanded tighter security measures from the Palestinians and a crackdown on militants who have attacked or threaten the safety of Israeli citizens.

France is hoping to re-launch talks between Israelis and Palestinians by the end of the year.

Editing by Bernadette Baum