France proposes Mideast peace plan

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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France is to propose a United Nations Security Council resolution that could be a framework for negotiations towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Foreign minister Laurent Fabius said “there is no other solution”, but added he did not know what the United States, Israel’s top ally, would agree to.

The minister, speaking at the UN’s headquarters in New York before leaving for the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland, said: “France will be part and parcel in proposing a resolution in the UN.”

Discussions with partners would begin in the days ahead, Mr Fabius said.

The UN’s top Middle East envoy, Robert Serry, challenged the security council on Thursday to lead the way on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it should present a framework for talks that “may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution”.

France had put off a previous attempt at a council resolution to wait for the results of Israel’s election earlier this month. “Now look at the result,” Mr Fabius said.

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu caused an international uproar when he said shortly before the election that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch. He has since struck a conciliatory tone.

But President Barack Obama has said he will reassess US policy towards Israel after Mr Netanyahu’s remarks, meaning that the security council could be a potential place to act.

Mr Fabius said France would take up the effort for a resolution as soon as Israel’s new government was formed. It was needed “to avoid a complete crash” in the crisis, he said.

Support from the United States, a veto-wielding member of the security council, is crucial for approval of a new resolution. The United States has said in the past that only direct negotiations can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When asked whether he had seen any sign of change in the US position in recent days, Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called it a good question and pointed reporters to the US ambassador.

America has not indicated whether it would support such a resolution.

Published: Saturday 28th March 2015 by The News Editor

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