'France slams plan for e. J'lem housing expansion'

French Foreign Minister: East Jerusalem building "is illegal in eyes of int'l law"; calls for peace talks based on French proposal, AFP says.

Ramat Shlomo 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Ramat Shlomo 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
France on Monday criticized the Jerusalem Local Planning and Building Council of Jerusalem's decision on Sunday to expand some 2,000 homes in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of the city, which is over the Green Line.
"Our position is constant: settlement building is illegal in the eyes of international law, in the West Bank as well as in east Jerusalem," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said, AFP reported.
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The spokesman also called on Israel and the Palestinians to "resume negotiations based on principles contained in the French initiative presented by [French Foreign Minister] Alain Juppe to Mr. [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and Mr. [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas during his recent visit to the Middle East, and to refrain from unilateral gestures which undermine the trust necessary for this resumption," according to the report.
France, earlier this month said it was considering a French proposal for an international peace conference in Paris later this summer. The idea of the conference was suggested in Jerusalem by visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.
Speaking after Netanyahu met with Juppé Thursday, a government sources said that “the French proposed different ideas, and we are looking at them.”
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, almost immediately expressed displeasure with the French proposal. Clinton said that "there is no agreement that the parties will resume negotiations. And I think the idea of any gathering, a conference or a meeting, has to be linked to a willingness by the parties to resume negotiating."
Herb Keinon contributed to this report