Hollande Holds Talks on Regional Situation with Mahmud Abbas

Paris, 17 Syawal 1437/22 July 2016 (MINA) – French President Francois Hollande held talks here late Thursday with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to discuss the worrying situation in the region, particularly the volatility in relations between Israelis and Palestinians and the rising violence between them, KUNA reported.

The Elysee Palace said the meeting between the two leaders had been moved forward because of scheduling issues. They had originally been due to meet Friday.

Hollande’s office said the French leader “expressed his concern faced with the fragility of the situation in the Middle East and the increase in violence.”

He urged the parties to “recreate a political perspective” and referred to the recent Quartet report which demonstrated that “the two-State solution is under threat.”

The Quartet report criticised Israel for continuing its illegal settlement policy and called on the Israeli government to halt further settlement-building.

Israel responded by announcing a major expansion of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

France has been trying to give fresh impetus to the moribund peace process and organised a ministerial meeting June 3 in Paris to try to establish an international framework to accompany fresh negotiations.

Paris is hoping this dynamic will lead to the holding of an international peace conference in which many parties – the UN, the EU, the Arab League and others – can push Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

“France will spare no effort to mobilise the international community in order to restart the peace process,” Hollande said, according to his office.

Israel firmly rejected the French initiative of June 3 and said it would only talk to the Palestinians in “direct dialogue” talks. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)