Macron welcomes Abbas to talks, calls for new push for Middle East peace

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called for the resumption of long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians to prevent simmering tensions in one of the Middle East’s longest-running conflicts from reigniting.

Speaking alongside Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential palace in Paris, Macron said the situation in East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories remains “more than worrying”.

“We all know that a new spiral of violence can start at any time,” Macron said on Wednesday. He added: “To remove this threat (…) which undermines the lives of Palestinians and Israelis, we must act.

In the short term, Macron said, that means ending Israel’s unilateral moves in the occupied West Bank, including the expansion of Jewish settlements and the evictions of Palestinian families from their homes. Both of these actions are “contrary to international law,” Macron said. He reiterated his willingness to mobilize the international community in efforts that will lead to the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians and ultimately lead to a “just and lasting peace”.

Abbas stressed that Israel must stop “unilateral actions…most importantly, the construction of illegal settlements” that carve up the territory the Palestinians want for their state alongside Israel.

Abbas was meeting Macron in Paris after the Palestinian leader met US President Joe Biden in the Israeli-occupied West Bank last week. Biden offered compassion and financial aid to hopeless Palestinians, but also bluntly acknowledged that “the ground is not ripe” for further attempts to achieve an elusive peace.

Political uncertainty in Israel, which is holding another round of elections in November, and the weak leadership of the Palestinian Authority have reduced any chance of reviving negotiations that failed more than a decade ago.

Earlier this month, Macron welcomed Israeli interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid to the Elysee Palace and called on him to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians.

Lapid, who is expected to remain as prime minister until elections in November, supports a two-state solution with the Palestinians. But as interim leader, he is unable to pursue major diplomatic initiatives.

(AP)


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