France urges resumption of Middle East peace talks

23rd January 2011, Comments 0 comments

France is ready to host another donor conference for Palestinians if the Palestinian-Israeli peace process is resumed, Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Saturday.

France is "available to organise a second conference of donors," and "we are ready to host them in Paris," Alliot-Marie said during a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

France had hosted a donors conference in December 2007.

The minister urged a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, saying peace in the Middle East is "indispensable."

"What is possible today might be impossible in a few months. That is why we must move forward," Alliot-Marie told reporters in Amman.

She was addressing a joint news conference with Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki after a dinner with Abbas in the Jordanian capital.

"France is committed to three principles: the creation of a Palestinians state, guaranteed security for Israel and Jerusalem as the capital of two states with free access to holy places for all those who come to practise their religions," she said.

"This is essential," she added.

The Palestinians have refused to take part in US-brokered direct talks with Israel since late September when Israel refused to extend a moratorium on settlement construction.

Alliot-Marie, who is on a regional tour, said in Tel Aviv on Thursday that France would vote for a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements drafted by Arab states if it were moderate and did not halt a resumption of peace talks.

"We are ready to go back to the negotiations once there are clear references in line with the 1967 borders," Maliki said.

"We are looking forward to seeing a Quartet meeting in February. We hope it will issue a clear and strong political declaration that would tackle the references for the peace talks with Israel," he added.

The Quartet's members -- Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations -- are to meet on February 5 in Munich, Germany.

In an interview with the Palestinian daily Al-Quds newspaper, Alliot-Marie reaffirmed that the European Union views the 1967 borders as the basis on which to conduct peace talks.

"The European Union reaffirmed its position very clearly in December 2009, indicating it would not recognise any modification of the 1967 borders unless it was agreed by both parties, including east Jerusalem," she said.

She also reiterated France's commitment to seeing through the creation of an independent Palestinian state by the end of this year.

Alliot-Marie, who met with her Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh on Saturday, holds talks with King Abdullah II on Sunday.

© 2011 AFP

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