France calls Middle East peace conference for June 3

19th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday he had called for a long-delayed Middle East peace conference to be held in Paris on June 3.

"I have suggested that the conference initially planned for May 30 be held on June 3," Ayrault said after talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"We reviewed again the position concerning France's initiative to hold a ministerial-level meeting in Paris to relaunch the Middle East peace process," Ayrault told reporters.

This would also provide the opportunity "for Israel and the Palestinians to resume on the basis of a two-state solution," he said.

"We are in a crisis situation and every day the situation on the ground gets worse," he added. Kerry confirmed he will attend the Paris talks.

Supporters of the peace process have been dismayed in recent months by Israel's ongoing construction of settlements on Palestinian land and by Palestinian knife and gun attacks on Israelis.

Ayrault said in a separate statement that the June 3 conference would help identify "ways to help Israel and the Palestinians return to the path to peace."

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© 2016 AFP

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