French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius gestures during a press conference at the Mukataa compound, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on June 21, 2015. .
(photo credit: ABBAS MOMANI / AFP)
France denied on Wednesday that it was backing away from plans to submit a UN Security Council resolution calling for a two-state solution based on the 1967 lines.
The denial followed comments to the contrary by a senior Palestinian and a well-connected American Jewish official earlier in the week.
“France has not given up,” a French Ministry spokesman said Wednesday at a daily press briefing. “A Security Council resolution would be useful to give a solid basis to new negotiations.
But it must be consensual and then be implemented.”
The comments came after the spokesman was asked about a statement that Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki had made a day earlier. In an interview on a Palestinian radio station, Malki said that the French had backed away from their idea of presenting a Middle East resolution, largely because of US and Israeli opposition.
That the French were reconsidering their move was first reported
in The Jerusalem Post
Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the Post that “we’ve met with French officials, and they’re telling us now that they’re essentially hesitant or reconsidering and don’t want to introduce it if it will face an American veto or if both parties don’t want it.”
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According to Hoenlein, the French will be reluctant to submit a draft resolution if they feel the US will veto it, or if the Palestinians will not be satisfied with a “watered-down” resolution that the Americans might be willing to let pass.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was in Israel last month and, according to Hoenlein, heard opposition to the plan from both the Israelis and the Palestinians.
“I think they [the French] were told by the Palestinians, and certainly by Israel, that they’re not interested in it,” he said. “And I think they’re looking for an alternative way to play a key role here.”
He said one alternative vehicle for involvement would be through a reconstructed Quartet, which would include France as well as the US, UN, EU, Russia, and several European and Arab states.
“They want to be a player in the Middle East,” he said of the French. “Some of this, I guess, is reaction toward America, and some is just their desire for relevance.”
Fabius, during his visit, said that the French plan to move the diplomatic process forward had three components: a return to negotiations, the establishment of an international committee that would “accompany” the sides and help them get over the “final meters of the negotiations,” and a UN Security Council resolution to anchor the process.
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