- Title: Israeli, Palestinian officials criticise Paris peace conference
- Date: 15th January 2017
- Summary: JERUSALEM (JANUARY 15, 2017) (REUTERS) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESMAN, DAVID KEYES, TALKING TO REPORTER (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESMAN, DAVID KEYES, SAYING: "Well, this conference is really a futile conference and it's one which is gonna push peace further back. It's a little bit like marriage counselling with neither the husband nor the wife present but 75 diplomats from around the world trying to solve a complex and rather intimate conflict." KEYES TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESMAN, DAVID KEYES, SAYING: "I think it will be irrelevant and I think it's a bit strange to try to concoct this in the last few minutes of this administration before a lot can and probably will change. And I think it will be tremendously valuable for attaining the peace that we so desire, the peace of mutual recognition, of mutual respect, a peace that Israelis and Palestinians deserve, what would really help advance that peace is if the world can help convince the Palestinians to relinquish this fight against Israel." RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (JANUARY 15, 2017) (REUTERS) PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANISATION (PLO) EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER, HANAN ASHRAWI, WATCHING FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER, JEAN-MARC AYRAULT, ADDRESSING DELEGATES AT CONCLUSION OF PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE AYRAULT ON SCREEN (SOUNDBITE) (English) PLO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER, HANAN ASHRAWI, SAYING: "As it turned out, this was just a proclamation of statements of intent, of commitment to the two-state solution. It was slightly watered down because of several interventions to try to avoid concrete mechanisms or deadlines and to just call on both parties to go back to negotiations. The issue is not negotiations per se, the issue is what is the basis of the negotiations and what is the behaviour of Israel as an occupying party." AYRAULT ON TELEVISION SCREEN ASHRAWI WATCHING TELEVISION
- Embargoed: 29th January 2017 19:51
- Keywords: Israel Palestinians Paris Peace
- Location: JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- City: JERUSALEM/RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- Country: Israel
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0015Z6XPAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israel and the Palestinians on Sunday (January 15) voiced criticism of Paris peace conference, in which some 70 countries reaffirmed that only a two-state solution between the two sides could resolve the conflict.
The final communique of a one-day international Middle East peace conference also warned that the countries would not recognise any unilateral steps taken by either side that could prejudge negotiations.
The communique shied away from explicitly criticising plans by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, although diplomats said the wording sent a "subliminal" message.
Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital, despite international objections.
Countries including key European and Arab states as well as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council were in Paris for the conference, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected as "futile". Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians were represented.
The conference will "push peace further back", Israeli Prime Minister Spokesman David Keyes said.
"It's a little bit like marriage counselling with neither the husband nor the wife present," he said.
However, just five days before Trump is sworn in, the meeting was seen as a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the incoming American president that a two-state solution to the conflict could not be compromised on and that unilateral decisions could exacerbate tensions on the ground.
The participants "call on each side ... to refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of negotiations on final-status issues, including, inter alia, on Jerusalem, borders, security, refugees and which they will not recognise," the final communique said.
Paris has said the meeting did not aim to impose anything on Israel or the Palestinians and that only direct negotiations could resolve the conflict.
The final draft did not go into any details other than reaffirming U.N. Security Council resolutions, including 2334. Diplomats said that had been a source of friction in talks.
But Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said the issue was not negotiations and that the final statement was "watered down".
"This was just a proclamation of statements of intent, of commitment to the two-state solution. It was slightly watered down because of several interventions to try to avoid concrete mechanisms or deadlines", she told Reuters Television in Ramallah.
The final statement said interested parties would meet again before year-end.
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