French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was in Israel Sunday to meet with officials and discuss, among other things what, if any, progress Western countries are making with Iran on that country's nuclear program. Paris has been much more cognizant of the dangers of an Iranian nuclear program than almost any of the other six Western countries participating in the talks, and on Sunday, Fabius told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that it was “still not clear” if the deal would be signed at all.
Fabius said that at the current stage of negotiations, the Western powers needed to be “very determined” that Iran sticks to its commitments, especially of allowing international nuclear inspectors into all Iranian facilities at will.
Iran has said on numerous occasions that it will never allow inspections of its military bases by foreign inspectors, raising suspicions among many – Israel and France as well – that Iran will continue to develop its nuclear program unhindered.
Fabius also discussed the peace process with Netanyahu, with the Prime Minister saying that Israel would not be “dictated” to. During their meeting Sunday evening, Fabius said that he felt the time was right for peace. “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an important issue for regional peace and security. It is important not only for the parties involved, but for the entire region,” he said, and both sides realized this. France, he said, would not walk away from the table, but would do what it could to bring both sides to it.
Earlier, the Prime Minister said that Israel rejected strong-arm tactics to force concessions to the Palestinian Authority. Such efforts “simply try to push us into accepting indefensible borders while completely ignoring what will be on the other side of the border,” Netanyahu said. “The way to reach agreements is only through bilateral negotiations, and we strongly reject attempts to force international diktat on us in regard to both security and peace.”