U.S., European and Arab diplomats are meeting in Paris for a French-led effort to revive the Mideast peace process, despite skepticism from Israel.

France persuaded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and foreign ministers and officials from nearly 30 other countries and international organizations to join Friday's meeting to try to prevent an escalation of Mideast violence.

Israel and the Palestinians will not take part, but the French hope this meeting could lead to eventual direct talks.

France's President Francois Hollande, who will open the conference, said in a statement Thursday that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict faces a "dangerous deadlock." The meeting will allow participants to "reaffirm their commitment to the two-state solution and their determination to create the conditions for resumption of direct talks," he said.