Top French diplomat to visit region to jumpstart peace talks
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Top French diplomat to visit region to jumpstart peace talks

Laurent Fabius pushing for UN resolution setting 18-month time frame for successful negotiations, on pain of Palestinian statehood recognition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the foreign minister of France, Laurent Fabius, at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, 25 August 2013
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the foreign minister of France, Laurent Fabius, at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, 25 August 2013 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

France’s chief diplomat Laurent Fabius announced Thursday that he would return to Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian territories before the end of June in order to try pushing French proposals for the relaunch of peace negotiations.

“France has made proposals and are going to continue [to do so]. I will go back by the end of the month [June],” Fabius said in a statement on France Inter Radio.

“I will be explaining with the leaders of the countries and territories that we want to resume negotiations between the two parties but that these negotiations would be defined by an international framework.”

Paris is trying to push a draft UN resolution which would revive the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that have been frozen since the failure of a US-mediated effort last spring, setting a timetable for an agreement.

France’s upcoming bid at the UN sets a timetable of 18 months for a final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and threatens French recognition of a Palestinian state should negotiations fail, newspaper Le Figaro reported last week

The document being formulated by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says the sovereignty of the demilitarized Palestinian state must be guaranteed, with a gradual Israeli pullout from Palestinian territory. It also says Israel’s security concerns must be addressed, and any Palestinian arms buildup or terrorist activity prevented.

The resolution also states that a “just, balanced and realistic solution” to the issue of Palestinian refugees must be found, based chiefly on a mechanism of compensation to those displaced. It also reportedly references Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, a stipulation that has so far been rejected by Palestinian leadership.

The draft, still in discussion, would “define the parameters and the timetable for negotiations, mobilizing the international community to facilitate the two parties to a conclusion,” Fabius said in a speech before students in Paris on May 20.

“France is trying to reverse the entire game and place the result ahead of the process,” Joseph Bahout, formerly of the French Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Division, wrote on Tuesday. “It also seeks to place the ball in the UN Security Council’s court in hopes that ‘imposed peace’ will be a game changer” in resolving the conflict.

“We are in favor of a two-state solution because one has to ensure the security of Israel, but there can be no security nor peace without justice,” he said.

France’s chief diplomat has already come three times to the region since taking office in 2012, including twice during the war between Israel and Hamas last summer.

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