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France/Middle East peace process

France/Middle East peace process

Published on June 3, 2011
Statement to the press by Alain Juppé, Ministre d’Etat, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, following his meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority

Rome, June 1, 2011

We’re convinced – we French, along with all the Europeans and also the G8, which met in Deauville – that the status quo in the Middle East would be a serious mistake. Everything is changing in the region, in Egypt, in Syria, so we must move, we must retake the initiative.

If nothing happens between now and September, France has already said, through her President, that she’ll draw all the appropriate conclusions.

The negotiations must be resumed on the basis of the clearly defined parameters. There have been breakthroughs in this area, particularly President Obama’s speech. There’s also the inter-Palestinian reconciliation, which we regard as a chance to be seized. We must start again on the basis of the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed [land] swaps, work on Israel’s security and then – perhaps in a second phase of the negotiation – deal with the difficult issues of refugees and Jerusalem.
We want the Palestinian authorities to think about it. I’ll take absolutely the same line with Mr Netanyahu tomorrow.

I’m well aware that things are difficult. I’m not the first to have tried to bring the two sides closer, but I think there’s a small window of opportunity in the weeks ahead. There’s not much time, so we’re going to do everything to ensure this chance is seized by everyone.

We’re going to see tomorrow what the Israeli government’s reaction is to the blueprint I’ve just mentioned. France is ready to convene a conference in Paris between now and the end of June to relaunch this process.

France has one single aim: to help. It’s true we’re Israel’s friends; we’re the Palestinians’ friends; and our role is to bring them closer, because we think peace can come only from direct negotiations.

There’s a deadline, in September. Something absolutely must happen before September./.

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