French FM proposes principles for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks

08:35, June 03, 2011      

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France on Thursday presented a new initiative to resume stalled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel, calling for a two-state solution with agreed land swaps.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced the plan in a press conference after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah.

The plan envisions the 1967 lines as the borders between Israel and the future Palestinian state. The French initiative agrees mostly with a recent speech by U.S. President Barack Obama, but goes further to emphasize security for the two states, not only for Israel.

Moreover, the new initiative sets a one-year as a timeline for Israel and the Palestinians to agree on the status of Jerusalem and resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees. Obama also talked about the two issues without setting a timeline, noting instead that progress made during talks on borders and security can lead to progress on the issues of Jerusalem and the refugees.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians were halted last year, when Israel resumed construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

If Israel doesn't stop construction and recognizes the 1967 borders as the baseline for negotiations, the Palestinians will go to the United Nations in September to seek recognition as an independent state.

Juppe called for resuming the negotiations, saying the current stillness should not continue. He also warned that the situation will be "difficult" for all parties if nothing positive happens by September.

Meanwhile, Juppe said his country is ready to organize a conference to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process on the sidelines of an economic conference in France late in June. The aim of the economic conference is to discuss aid to the Palestinian National Authority for the coming three years.

Fayyad welcomed the French proposal to add "political dimensions" to Paris conference. He said that the political dimensions were needed to "push towards ending the occupation and the birth of the independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem."

Source: Xinhua
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