France is committed to peace in the Middle East and to Israel’s security, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday ahead of his projected meeting on Monday with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
Of the European countries negotiating with Iran on a nuclear deal, France has taken the toughest stance. When he began negotiating with Iran three years ago, Fabius told Rivlin, he had prepared a draft which contained an unequivocal clause to the effect that under no circumstances will Iran seek or possess nuclear weapons.
While deriving some comfort from Fabius’s assurances, Rivlin pointed out that Iran poses more than a nuclear threat and has supplied Hezbollah with 100,000 rockets and mortars and also supports Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Shi'ites and the Sunnis in Yemen and the Syrian marauders in the Golan. “We have to take the threat of Iran very seriously,” said Rivlin. “We are in imminent danger of an imperialistic power which declared in the United Nations that it wants to destroy Israel.”
With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Fabius underscored that France as a friend of both Israel and the Palestinians wants to help both parties to renew the peace process. While he understood Israel’s objections to third party involvement and agreed that the only way to resolve the conflict is through direct talks, he believed that a friend was needed to urge both parties in that direction. “That’s why I’m here,” he said.
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