France says no plans for UN resolution after peace confab
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France says no plans for UN resolution after peace confab

Days after Netanyahu warns of further measures at the Security Council, Paris official rebuffs rumors of secret proposal

President Reuven Rivlin meets with Gérard Larcher, President of the Senate of France, at Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem, January 3, 2017. Mark Neyman/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin meets with Gérard Larcher, President of the Senate of France, at Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem, January 3, 2017. Mark Neyman/GPO)

France is not secretly planning a UN Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a major conference in Paris this month, the president of the French Senate said Thursday.

Gerard Larcher said he was not aware of any country working on a resolution to put before the Council between the January 15 meeting and the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president on January 20.

Speaking to the press in Jerusalem at the end of a four-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, Larcher said that many Israeli interlocutors had expressed fear France would try to translate the outcome of the conference into a UN resolution.

The French-organized talks, to be attended by around 70 countries — but not by Israeli or Palestinian representatives — are being held to reiterate international support for a two-state solution to the conflict.

“There is no secret proposal for a resolution prepared by France at the UN after the Paris conference to date,” Larcher said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently spoken out against the French initiative since its announcement early last year, insisting that anything but direct talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will make peace more distant.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu told Israeli diplomats that the French conference would be “irrelevant,” warning, however, that “there are signs that they are trying to turn decisions made there into another Security Council resolution, and that is no longer irrelevant.

“Therefore, our primary effort that we are currently dealing with is the prevention of an additional UN Security Council resolution,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Conference of Israeli ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry office, in Jerusalem, January 3, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Conference of Israeli ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry office, in Jerusalem, January 3, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Netanyahu, who is also foreign minister, went on to say that Jerusalem must also work to prevent another decision or resolution by the Middle East Quartet, which comprises the UN, the United States, the European Union and Russia.

In July 2016, the Quartet published a report criticizing Israeli settlement expansion and Palestinian incitement to violence. Representatives of the group have not announced plans to issue any additional documents.

Israel is making a “great diplomatic effort” to prevent further Security Council or Quartet resolutions, Netanyahu said, instructing the Israeli ambassadors to make that the main focus of their work in the days ahead.

“It won’t take much time, but it will occupy us in the next two weeks, and it needs to succeed,” he said. “This is of utmost importance, immediately.”

On December 23, the UN Security Council passed resolution 2334, which declared Israeli settlement outside the pre-1967 lines as having “no legal validity” and constituting “a flagrant violation under international law. Fourteen of 15 member states voted in favor of the text. The US abstained, allowing the resolution to pass.

Netanyahu rejected the resolution at the time as a “shameful blow against Israel” and claimed that outgoing US President Barack Obama was behind it.

US officials, including senior members of the White House’s national security team, have since vowed to veto any additional Security Council resolution on Israel, including one based on Kerry’s recommendations.

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