Hollande presses Israel on talks, but calls for Palestinian gestures too

Visiting French president says both sides should make gestures, calls on Israel to make gestures on settlements as well.

Peres and Hollande at President's Residence 370 (photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
Peres and Hollande at President's Residence 370
(photo credit: Mark Neiman/GPO)
France's President Francois Hollande, who arrived in Israel on Sunday for a three-day visit, said he believed both Israel and the Palestinians need to make gestures in order to push the peace process forward.
"Israel started releasing prisoners, but gestures are needed on the settlements issue as well," Hollande said during a meeting with President Shimon Peres, stressing that it was necessary the conditions for peace were created.
He added that he intends to discuss the issue with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on their upcoming meeting, requesting the Palestinians to make gestures of their own.
"The peace process is difficult, but this time the need for peace is extremely urgent," Hollande said.
"At this time, it is not only important to reach an accord, but there is also a real need to reach a permanent solution, a sustainable peace," he said, adding that the two-state solution is the only solution.
President Peres agreed with Hollande's stance, stressing that "We must not postpone achieving peace - it is time to make historic decisions, to implement a solution agreed on by all - two states to two peoples."
He thanked Hollande for France's help and support on the peace process, noting Paris's contribution to the peace process by aiding in building an economic infrastructure in the Palestinian Authority.
"At every turn that put us closer to peace, France has offered a supporting hand to settle the conflict between Israel and its neighbors," Peres said.