French FM Calls to Renew Peace Talks, Warns About ‘Settlements’

June 20, 2015  

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday urged the resumption of Middle East peace talks, AFP reported.

The French minister also warned that continued Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria poses a threat to a final deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“What’s important is that negotiations restart,” Fabius told reporters during a visit to Cairo, where he held what he said were intensive talks with Egyptian officials on the peace process.

“We need Israel’s security to be totally assured, that is essential, but at the same time we need the rights of the Palestinians to be recognized because without justice there can be no peace,” he added.

“From this point of view, when settlement building continues, (the prospect of) a two-state solution recedes,” claimed Fabius.

Egypt is the first stop of a two-day visit Fabius is making to the Middle East in an attempt to push Israel and the PA back to the negotiating table. Talks have been frozen since April 2014, when the PA applied to join international institutions in breach of the conditions of the talks.

Fabius met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, according to AFP.

“For 40 years, we’ve had negotiations but they’ve never been successful, so we need to change the method,” the minister said. “All this must be endorsed by the international community and… by a United Nations resolution.”

France has so far focused with Arab states on a possible resolution that would set negotiating parameters and establish a time period, possibly 18 months, to complete talks.

Work on the resolution began in March, immediately after the elections in Israel. Right after those elections, Fabius called for negotiations between Israel and the PA to resume in order to achieve “a comprehensive and lasting peace accord” based on the “two-state solution”.

The Security Council in December rejected a resolution, brought forward by the PA’s allies, that would have set a deadline for reaching a final peace deal and pave the way to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Referring to the proposed French resolution earlier this week, PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas said the PA would only back a proposal that raises all of their demands, indicating the demand for an independent Palestinian state on the 1949 Armistice lines with the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital, and a clear date set for the end of negotiations and implementation of PA sovereignty.

Abbas emphasized that the PA fundamentally opposes recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, reiterating his vehement rejection of the recognition that Netanyahu requested in talks.

If recognition of the Jewish state is included in the French proposal the PA will not back it, warned the PA chairman.

Fabius will head to Amman Sunday for discussions with Jordan’s King Abdullah II before flying to Ramallah to meet Abbas.

The final leg of his two-day trip will see him hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

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