- By Colum LynchColum Lynch is Foreign Policy’s award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. He previously wrote FP’s Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He was also the silver medal recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for a three-part series documenting the U.N.’s systemic failure to protect civilians in Darfur, Sudan. Colum’s investigations have uncovered an American spy operation in Iraq, Russia’s monopoly of the $1 billion-a-year U.N. aircraft leasing market, and a Chinese diplomatic campaign to silence U.N. investigators scrutinizing Chinese arms deals in Africa. His deep digs into the U.N. bureaucracy have exposed sexual misconduct by U.N. blue helmets from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and documented monumental dysfunction in the U.N. office charged with rooting out misconduct and corruption. He now devotes his reporting chops to documenting President Donald Trump’s efforts to reorder the international system. Born in Los Angeles, Colum received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. Before moving to FP, Colum reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. He has appeared frequently on national news programs, including the Lehrer NewsHour, as well as on MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC.
Less than 24 hours after the Middle East Quartet issued a statement calling for a resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, the new Egyptian government, speaking on behalf of the nonaligned movement, doused it with cold water.
Mohamed Kamel Amr, Egypt’s foreign minister, said in a speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday that "we have witnessed yesterday another failure by the Quartet to come up with a balanced vision to achieve the goal that we all know and approve of yet differ on how to realize it."
It remained unclear whether the Egyptian statement represented the start of a major move by Palestine supporters to undercut the peace talks, or was simply pre-negotiation posturing designed to bolster the Palestinians’ quest for a better deal.
But the Quartet statement’s failure to include a clear framework — or parameters — for talks, and the absence of a call for an end to settlements has infuriated key powers, including Russia, which is a member of the Quartet, and France, which is represented by the European Union envoy, Catherine Ashton. Some diplomats said that Russia had at one point during the talks threatened to pull out of the discussions.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy meanwhile was said to be furious that Ashton had refused to fully brief the French in the midst of the high-pressure talks and that she had failed to add stronger reference to the parameters to the statement. Last week, he pre-empted Ashton by presenting her proposal as his own. But after the deal was struck, France’s foreign minister issued a statement saying they were pleased with the direction the Quartet was pursuing.
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