France says Trump's Jerusalem embassy proposal a provocation

"It would have extremely serious consequences and it's not the first time that it's on the agenda of a US president, but none have let themselves make that decision," says minister at peace summit.

January 15, 2017 13:54
2 minute read.

French FM at Middle East summit in Paris, 15.1.17

French FM at Middle East summit in Paris, 15.1.17


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PARIS - France's foreign minister said on Sunday a proposal by US President-elect Donald Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem would be a provocation with serious consequences.

"Of course (it's a provocation). I think he would not be able to do it," Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television amid a conference on the Middle East peace process in Paris. "It would have extremely serious consequences and it's not the first time that it's on the agenda of a US president, but none have let themselves make that decision.

"One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position. You have to create the conditions for peace."

Earlier on Sunday  as the conference on Middle East peace kicked off, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the parley was “futile” and the “final palpitations” of yesterday’s world.

The summit, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, was “coordinated between the French and the Palestinians with the goal of trying to impose conditions on Israel that are not compatible with Israel's national interests.”

Delegations from some 70 nations attended the conference, however, neither Israel nor the Palestinians had representatives participating in the summit.

Ayrault opened the conference in Paris, by stressing that the two-state solution is the only alternative able to to guarantee peace and security to Israel, the Palestinians and the region.

The conference, he said, aims to offer measures that would encourage the sides to relaunch negotiations and to create the optimal conditions for that. He also hinted that the conference might establish a follow-up framework. ‘’We have no aim but peace for Israel, the Palestinians, the region and all people who suffer from the crisis and violence of the conflict,’’ said Ayrault.

The conference is also seen as an effort by the international community to send a message to Trump that a two-state solution is the only way forward, and to serve as a warning not to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, as he has pledged to do.

The Palestinian leadership has launched a campaign to appeal to the world to block the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

A Fatah spokesman said on Saturday night that moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will “open the gates of hell.”

Last Monday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent letters to a host of world leaders and heads of international bodies, including the US president-elect, Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May, asking them to block the relocation of the embassy.

Herb Keinon and Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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