Douste-Blazy to visit Israeland Palestinian territories

28th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy is to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in early September, the minister himself announced after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

PARIS, July 28 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy is to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in early September, the minister himself announced after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"I told the prime minister that I will go to Israel and the Palestinian territories from September 4 to 7, after the withdrawal from Gaza," Douste-Blazy said.

Describing his half hour of talks with Sharon as "warm," he said next month's pull-out from the Gaza Strip was a "historic moment. We told him how much we support this initiative, how much we hope it takes place peacefully."

Sharon is on a three-day visit to France, hailed by both countries as a sign of a new spirit of friendship after several years of mutual suspicion.

In a meeting with Jewish leaders Thursday he was expected to issue a new appeal to France's 600,000 strong community to emigrate to Israel. However the prime minister has made clear that the appeal is in no way linked to allegations of a climate of anti-Semitism in France.

"I am always calling on French Jews and Jews everywhere to come to Israel. I do it all the time," Sharon said.

A year ago relations with Paris plunged to a new low when Sharon appeared to suggest that it was too dangerous for Jews to stay in France because of a spate of attacks on Jewish targets.

Sharon returns to Israel Friday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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