Coordinate Gaza pullout with 'roadmap': Chirac

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called on Thursday for the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to be carried out in line with the stalled roadmap for Middle East peace.

PARIS, Jan 6 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac called on Thursday for the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip to be carried out in line with the stalled roadmap for Middle East peace.

"Following the Palestinian elections, let us work together to ensure the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip is a success," Chirac told a gathering of foreign ambassadors at an annual New Year's function.

This would require efforts to "fully involve the Palestinian Authority and to help it fulfil its responsibilities," he said.

"It also implies that the withdrawal be coordinated with the roadmap, which must be relaunched without delay," he said.

"We must immediately persuade the parties to commit strongly" to the revival of the internationally-drafted roadmap, Chirac urged.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier would be travelling "very shortly" to the region.

The peace roadmap, drafted by the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, calls for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel by the end of 2005.

Its sponsors have warned they would not allow Israel's planned withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from Gaza to thwart a more comprehensive settlement.

The "establishment of strong, legitimate (Palestinian) institutions" should "go hand in hand with the relaunch of the peace process," Chirac told the gathering, three days ahead of the Palestinian presidential election.

"Drawing the lessons from the past, let us not hesitate to move as fast as possible towards a definitive settlement.

"That is how we will manage to create a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living alongside Israel in peace and security," Chirac said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article