Paris meeting 'very significant step': Palestinians

3rd June 2016, Comments 0 comments

The Palestine Liberation Organisation hailed Friday's international meeting on the Middle East peace process held in Paris as a "significant step" on the path to peace.

"The Paris meeting is a very significant step and its message is clear: if Israel is allowed to continue its colonisation and apartheid policies in occupied Palestine, the future will be for more extremism and bloodshed rather than for coexistence and peace," PLO secretary general Saeb Erekat said in a statement.

Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki, however, said they had "expected a better statement" to emerge from the Paris talks but was waiting to get more information from the French foreign ministry.

Representatives from 28 countries, the Arab League, European Union and United Nations discussed ways in which the international community could "help advance the prospects for peace," a short joint statement from the participants said after Friday's meeting.

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were invited to attend the meeting, which aimed to lay the ground for a fully-fledged peace conference to be held by the end of the year.

Israel has rejected the Paris meeting, instead pushing for direct bilateral talks with Palestinian leaders.

Erekat rejected that approach, saying Israel had failed to abide by previous commitments.

"The multilateral approach of the French Initiative is needed in order to provide us with a clear mechanism of implementation and monitoring," he said.

© 2016 AFP

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