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France welcomes Israel suspending annexation of Palestinian lands

France on Thursday welcomed a landmark deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates in which the Jewish state pledged to suspend annexation of Palestinian lands.

“The decision taken within this framework by the Israeli authorities to suspend the annexation of Palestinians territories is a positive step, which must become a definitive measure,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

“The new state of mind shown by these announcements must now allow the resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians with a view to establishing two states within the framework of international law and agreed parameters, which is the only option to enable a just and lasting peace.”

Under the US-brokered deal, Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise ties that, when signed, would be the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab nation, after Egypt and Jordan.

The UAE said an agreement had been reached to stop “further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories”.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had only agreed to delay, not cancel, the annexations, that the plans remained “on the table” and that he would “never give up our rights to our land”.