- Title: Mideast summit 'a warning' because 'two-state solution is at threat' - Hollande
- Date: 15th January 2017
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (JANUARY 15, 2017) (AGENCY POOL) ROOM WHERE "SUMMIT FOR PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST" MEETING IS TAKING PLACE U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, JOHN KERRY, TALKING TO OTHER DELEGATES EUROPEAN UNION HIGH REPRESENTATIVE, FEDERICA MOGHERINI, SPEAKING TO OTHER ATTENDEE FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SHAKING HANDS WITH ATTENDEES AND WALKING TO PODIUM TO DELIVER SPEECH HOLLANDE DELIVERING SPEECH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "The initiative launched by France that you all fully agreed with was first of all a warning. Because the two-state solution, the one upon which the international community agreed, and this for several years, appears threatened. Threatened in the field by increasing settlement and threatened politically because of the progressive weakening of those who are in the favour of peace. It is threatened also morally because of the increasing distrust between the two parties that extremists use for their own purposes." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "That is our message. It comes at a moment when there's going to be a new administration taking over in Washington. Over twenty years after the Oslo agreements, everybody needs to know what the lessons to be learned from history are. Everybody needs to understand what is at stake and that things cannot be improvised nor turn upside down. We started with this initiative and with our efforts many years ago so it is absolutely necessary as it is legitimate for the international community to think hard about the best way to making a solution possible for the two-state solution." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "I know what was said of this conference, that it could be naive, 'how could we possibly imagine thinking about peace today when the Middle East is falling apart?', it was even said that this was pointless and we were just adding very little to international relations by holding this conference here. Well, I can tell you now and here that it would be very naive to believe that bringing together Israel and its neighbours - something so necessary - wouldn't be possible without moving towards peace." AUDIENCE APPLAUDING AS HOLLANDE WALKS OFF STAGE KERRY GIVING THUMBS UP TO HOLLANDE AS HE WALKS PAST
- Embargoed: 29th January 2017 14:52
- Keywords: Hollande Middle East Israel Palestinians peace Trump
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015Z6Y3IF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: French President Francois Hollande signalled to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday (January 15) that a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only solution. Paris has warned him that plans to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could derail peace efforts.
Some 70 countries, including key European and Arab states as well as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, gathered in Paris in the presence of U.S. State Secretary John Kerry and the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, amongst others.
Hollande said in his opening speech that the summit was "a warning".
"Because the two-state solution, the one upon which the international community agreed, and this for several years, appears threatened."
But, just five days before Trump is sworn in, the conference provides a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the incoming American president.
Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital despite international objections.
Hollande said there was no going back on the 1993 Oslo peace accords that were meant yield a two state solution.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the Paris meeting as "futile". Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are represented at the conference.
Paris has said the meeting will not impose anything on Israel or the Palestinians and that only direct negotiations can resolve the conflict.
A draft communique seen by Reuters reaffirms existing international resolutions, urges both sides to restate their commitment to the two-state solution and disavow officials who reject it. The communique asks the protagonists to "refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations".
Diplomats said the communique could be toughened up with an allusion to Trump's plans for Jerusalem and whether to have a follow-up to the French initiative intensely debated.
Relations between the United States and Israel have soured during President Barack Obama's administration, reaching a low point late last month when Washington declined to veto a U.N. resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements in occupied territory.
Obama's secretary of state, John Kerry, said the settlement programme threatened Middle East peace and the two-state solution.
Home to Europe's largest Muslim and Jewish communities, France has tried to breathe new life into the peace process over the past year.
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