French envoy for Mideast peace confab meets with Israeli officials

Pierre Vimont, the French Foreign Ministry envoy “for the preparation of the international conference to renew the Middle East peace process,” meets with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold.

Stressing that Vimont, who arrived in Israel yesterday for two days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials, came “at his own request,” an FM statement says that Israeli officials raised questions over the French initiative to renew Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“The Israeli side stressed the importance of the principle of direct, bilateral negotiations without pre-stipulated conditions and the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility to fight terror and incitement,” reads the statement.

Pierre Vimont, France's special envoy for peace initiative (Youtube screenshot)
Pierre Vimont, France’s special envoy for peace initiative (YouTube screenshot)

The international summit is scheduled to take place in June or July, despite Israeli complaints that peace negotiations should take the form of direct talks.

Last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France will not “automatically” recognize a Palestinian state if the conference does not go ahead, walking back pledges to do so by his predecessor Laurent Fabius.

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