French and Palestinian leaders discuss Middle East peace
Israel/Palestinian Territories/statement by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, following his meeting with Mr Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic
Paris, 15 April 2016
Ladies and gentlemen,
I had a meeting this evening with President Mahmoud Abbas, in the presence of Manuel Valls and Jean-Marc Ayrault, because we have trustful relations and both because France is concerned about the situation in the Middle East today – and particularly what’s happening in Israel and Palestine – and because France is taking the initiative.
Together with President Mahmoud Abbas we wanted, first of all, to exchange the information we have about what’s happening – that is, the security situation. President Mahmoud Abbas has also made sure he can guarantee security cooperation with Israel. But at the same time there’s violence, there are tragedies. We can see what effects and consequences the deadlock in the situation can have.
So we must take initiatives. France’s initiative consists in bringing the international community together around the process that must lead to peace. However, this process presupposes a certain order and timeframe.
First of all, bringing all the partners together: the Quartet of course, but also other countries which are aware of the situation too and want to help resolve it. We’ll make sure to bring together, first of all, the foreign ministers of those countries, then see together how we can work with those involved.
This peace initiative is aimed at preventing no démarches; but at the same time we believe it’s the best path and the one that can lead to the resumption of negotiations in the known framework.
We also discussed the cooperation that exists. Prime Minister Manuel Valls will go to the Palestinian Authority, and therefore the territories, at the end of May to ensure that what we’ve already built together can materialize further in many fields.
There’s also the situation in [the rest of] the Middle East, which so greatly concerns us. President Abbas and I discussed Syria, with a wish for the solution to be political, and ensuring that discussions can be geared towards a political solution.
We’re worried about any violations of the ceasefire, the truce, which would have tragic consequences and which are already having tragic consequences, because we have information that civilians are fleeing the fighting. And we’re also conscious of the population movements caused by the Syria crisis and by what’s happened and is still happening in Iraq. It’s the whole issue of refugees, who are in Lebanon – I’ll be there in a few hours’ time –, who are in Jordan – I’ll also be there at the beginning of next week – and who are in Turkey. And we must work on that too. President Abbas will go to Moscow in a few days’ time, and the messages will be sent there too: we must seek a political solution.
We also want to emphasize what must equally be done at multilateral level, and I’ll be meeting President Mahmoud Abbas in New York during the signature of the [climate] agreement reached in Paris. It’s very important for the whole international community to be together and therefore for you to be in in New York too, and we’ll have the opportunity to work with all the heads of state and government and ministers who will be there to discuss the climate but also to discuss the initiative France has decided to take./.