Netanyahu off to Paris to meet Sarkozy

Likud leader dismisses criticism that embassy in Paris was not informed, will also meet French FM.

sarkozy 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
sarkozy 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu, who told EU ambassadors last week he would continue with the Annapolis process - albeit with some red lines - were he to become prime minister, is taking that message on the road, going to France Wednesday for a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Netanyahu is scheduled to leave Wednesday evening for a brief visit to Paris where, in addition to Sarkozy, he is also expected to meet Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Economy Minister Christine Lagarde and some Jewish leaders. Netanyahu spokesman Ron Dermer said Netanyahu wanted to let Sarkozy know what his policies were and what he intended to do in the future. Dermer said Netanyahu was going to speak to Sarkozy about how he would conduct negotiations, his ideas for "economic peace," and how the situation could be changed on the ground. "France is a very important, leading European country, and he wants to make his policies clear," Dermer said. Netanyahu's office disputed charges by Foreign Ministry officials that the embassy in Paris was not informed in advance of the visit, and said that Israel's ambassador to France would take part in the meetings with Kouchner and Lagarde. In Netanyahu's meeting with the EU ambassadors on Friday, he assured them that he would continue with the Annapolis process, but with a number of "red lines." Among them were that Israel must control the air space and electromagnetic spectrum of a future Palestinian state, and that entity would have to be de-militarized. In addition he said that a unified Jerusalem would have to remain under Israeli control, and there would have to be an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert. Netanyahu and Sarkozy have known each other for some seven years, and are considered to have a close relationship. Following Sarkozy's election in 2007, Netanyahu wrote an article in Yediot Aharonot praising Sarkozy and saying he and the French president "see many things eye-to-eye, first and foremost in terms of some of the international perceptions, the social perceptions and the economic perceptions."