France looks to Egypt to push peace bid
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France looks to Egypt to push peace bid

Cairo welcomes Paris initiative but says details must be clarified first

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on June 8, 2014. (AP/MENA)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, left, greets Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during his inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on June 8, 2014. (AP/MENA)

A spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Thursday that France is seeking help from Egypt to advance an initiative to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

“There is no doubt that Egypt welcomes the French thought,” Abu Zeid said of his country’s position toward the French initiative. “However, there is still a need to review the details, to see how we can contribute to the conference for a new push of the peace process, and to address the key challenges facing the Palestinian issue.”

In January, then French foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced plans by Paris for an international conference to “bring about the two-state solution” to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

France said that it would recognize a Palestinian state if fresh negotiation efforts failed to yield results.

Hamas on Wednesday rejected the proposal.

“The initiative is a bid to stop the ongoing Jerusalem intifada and cancel the Palestinian rights in Jerusalem and the right of return,” said a statement from the lslamist group, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s statement followed remarks by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday. He had voiced hope that the French initiative could lead to a solution reminiscent of the breakthrough talks on Iran’s nuclear deal.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 21, 2015. (Flash90)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 21, 2015. (Flash90)

When the French initiative was first floated, only the PA expressed hope in the project.

The announcement by Fabius in January was immediately followed by rejections from Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the initiative as “mystifying” and counterproductive, arguing that it gives Palestinians no incentive to compromise.

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