French Foreign Minister to visit Ramallah, discuss peace

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will visit Ramallah next month, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki said Friday, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu.

The purpose of the meeting is to assess the reactions to the French initiative to hold an international peace conference, said Al-Maliki.

France announced the initiative in January and threatened at the time to unilaterally recognize the “State of Palestine” if its peace efforts fail.

But Ayrault, who replaced Laurent Fabius as foreign minister, later backtracked on the threat , saying France would not “automatically” recognize a Palestinian state if its initiative fails.

Al-Maliki announced Ayrault's visit at the conclusion of a visit to Brussels, where he met with European officials including Belgium's Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

He reportedly said that the French peace initiative “constituted a major part of his meeting with members of the EU Committee on Foreign Affairs," according to Anadolu.

The PA has welcomed the French initiative, though it has also insisted on a United Nations resolution against Israeli “settlement building” ahead of any renewed peace process.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the initiative, calling it "mystifying" and counterproductive and arguing that the proposal gives Palestinians no incentive to compromise.

The West continues to push Israel and the PA to resume peace talks on a “two-state solution”, even though U.S. President Barack Obama admitted this week it is unlikely the conflict will be resolved by the time he leaves office.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/209917

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