The French government’s plan for indirect talks to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be postponed so that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry can participate, French President Francois Hollande told Europe Radio 1 on Tuesday.
France’s meeting of foreign ministers from 20 countries—excluding Israeli and Palestinian leaders—was initially scheduled for May 30 in Paris, but Kerry could not attend on that date due to America’s Memorial Day. Hollande said the meeting would instead occur in the summer.
“This initiative is necessary because if nothing happens, if there is no strong French initiative, then colonization, attacks, terrorist attacks, and several conflicts are going to continue,” Hollande said, adding, “We are going to create, with all actors and neighboring countries, the parameters which will allow Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.”
The Palestinian Authority supports the French initiative, while the Israeli government opposes it. After meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I told him that the only way to advance true peace between us and the Palestinians is via direct negotiations between us and them, without preconditions. Historical experience shows that is how we achieved peace with Egypt and that is how we achieved peace with Jordan. Any other method only pushes peace further away and gives the Palestinians an escape hatch to avoid dealing with the root of the conflict—which is their non-recognition of the State of Israel.”