French announces initiative to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace process

08:54, June 08, 2011      

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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in the United Nations Tuesday that his government will pursue efforts to organize a Middle East conference and relaunch negotiations between Israel and Palestine by end of the summer.

"We took this initiative because we think that the status quo in the Middle East is unsustainable," Juppe told reporters here.

President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas responded positively to the French proposal and the Israeli government is currently studying the proposal, Juppe said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday showed interest in the French proposal, but she also raised a certain number of reservations, according to the French minister.

The Middle Eastern Quartet's Special Envoy Tony Blair said he supports the French initiative, Juppe said, adding: "I have the feeling that our initiative has moved things" in the Middle East peace process.

The Quartet, which includes the United Nations, the European Union, Russia and the United States, is a diplomatic group in search of the two-state solution -- a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent Palestine State.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier on Tuesday met with Juppe and said he was concerned about the lack of progress in the Middle East peace process.

"It's very difficult and the past decades have shown that you need determination and tenacity to be involved in this situation, but we have tenacity and we will continue to move forward," Juppe said.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since late September following Israel's refusal to extend a 10- month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory. That decision prompted Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.

Source: Xinhua
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