France calls for international Israeli-Palestinian peace conference

President Francois Hollande says Paris has role to play in renewing stalled talks

French President Francois Hollande (photo credit: AP/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)
French President Francois Hollande (photo credit: AP/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday that France has a role to play in renewing stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and was seeking to organize an international peace conference for the purpose.

“France must take the initiative to find a diplomatic solution” to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict “that has been going on for decades,” the French president said in a joint interview to France 24, TV5 Monde and RFI.

Hollande indicated that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius would make the announcement Friday during a parliamentary debate on a vote to recognize a Palestinian state set for Tuesday.

Hollande did not mention a potential date for said conference or list the participants.

The French president said that a solution must be found of the basis of the two-state model, a Palestinian state neighboring an Israeli state with security guarantees.

France’s expected vote follows Britain, Spain and Ireland, whose lawmakers have largely opted to recognize a Palestinian state, albeit symbolically.

On October 30, Sweden’s government became the first Western European nation in the EU to officially recognize Palestinian statehood.

On Wednesday, the EU Parliament debated whether to issue recognition and is set to vote sometime in December.

In the debate, European Parliament members appeared sharply divided on what policy to endorse. One lawmaker branded Israel “a state of child killers and land robbers,” while another likened a Palestinian state to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Brokered by the US, Israeli-Palestinian peace talks restarted in July 2013 but collapsed in April, with tensions and violence mounting again dramatically in recent weeks.

There has been international alarm over a spate of deadly terror attacks carried out by Palestinians inside Israel along with rioting in East Jerusalem and the deadlock over peace talks that are fueling fear of another flareup after the Israel-Hamas war earlier this year.

AFP and AP contributed to this report.

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