France to convene Mideast summit in May, without Israel or Palestinians

The conference will include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council.

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April 21, 2016 19:04
1 minute read.
French President Francois Hollande enters the Elysee Palace in Paris

French President Francois Hollande enters the Elysee Palace in Paris. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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France will convene a summit on May 30 of some 30 countries and international organizations to discuss the parameters for an international peace conference to be held in the French capital in the second part of the year, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Thursday.

Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be invited to the summit, though they will be asked to join the peace conference.

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“There is no other solution to the conflict other than a two-state solution, Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace and security with Jerusalem a shared capital,” Ayrault said in Paris.

“The two sides are more divided than ever. I’m not naive, but am acting in good faith. There is no alternative.

The other option is fatalism and I refuse it,” he said.

France’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, Pierre Vimont, completed a report earlier this month.

According to the French Embassy in Tel Aviv, the May 30 meeting will be on the basis of the 2002 Arab League’s peace plan.



The list of those to be invited to the parley was not released, though it is expected to include representatives from the US, Russia, European Union, UN, Arab League and the members of the UN Security Council. The invitations to the meeting are expected to be sent out on Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who told reporters earlier this week that he was unclear what was in the French initiative, said the planned summit in Paris was not mentioned on Thursday during his meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki, meanwhile, said at the UN that the Palestinians “welcome” the summit and “are looking forward to help.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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