Emmanuel Macron to visit Israel next year
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Emmanuel Macron to visit Israel next year

French president says he will promote peace process during trip to region; cites fighting Islamic terrorism as his top priority

French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he adresses French ambassadors during the annual gathering of French diplomatic corps at the Elysee Palace in Paris, August 29, 2017. (AFP/POOL/YOAN VALAT)
French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he adresses French ambassadors during the annual gathering of French diplomatic corps at the Elysee Palace in Paris, August 29, 2017. (AFP/POOL/YOAN VALAT)

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday that he will visit Israel next spring in an effort to push the Middle East peace process.

Macron said that he will also travel to Lebanon, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority as part of a longer visit in the region.

Speaking to some 200 French ambassadors at a gathering in Paris, Marcon said the fight against “Islamist terrorism,” especially in Syria and Iraq, is the first priority of his foreign policy.

The French leader proposed creating a new “contact group” including the other permanent members of the UN Security Council to help handle negotiations with Syria. He didn’t give more detail about the exact role and composition of the group.

Macron said the Islamic State group is “our enemy” and “we must end the war” in Syria, and called for a political transition in Iraq.

He also said he wants to organize an international summit in Paris “against the financing of terrorism” at the beginning of next year.

Since early 2015, France has suffered a series of terror attacks that have claimed more than 230 lives.

The 39-year-old leader also insisted there was “no alternative” to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which has been fiercely opposed by US President Donald Trump.

“There is no alternative to the non-proliferation agenda. It enables a constructive and demanding relationship with Iran,” he said.

Facing dismal approval ratings less than four months into his term, Macron is looking to burnish his foreign policy credentials with the speech, which is a fixture on France’s political calendar.

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