France’s only goal in Middle East is peace and security - Minister

Israel/Palestinian Territories – Statements by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at his joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart (excerpts)

Ramallah, 21 June 2015

(…)

The purpose of this visit is still the same: to set out France’s ideas to our friends and partners and ask them what they think of them, with a single aim, which is the priority of French diplomacy: the search for security and peace. That’s the aim: the search for security and peace. There is no other. France has no hidden agenda.

Now, in this overall search for security and peace, the Israeli-Palestinian issue is very important: important in itself, because Israel’s security must be guaranteed and at the same time the Palestinians must be given the right to have a state.

More broadly, it’s a more important issue which has repercussions – President Abbas and I talked about this – on the whole region and on many situations in the world. Unless a problem as important as this is resolved, it has a series of consequences, including – and this is a concern for us all – on the rise of terrorism in a whole number of countries.

So in order for there to be no ambiguity, I repeat: it’s about setting out a number of ideas and listening to our interlocutors’ reactions. You know these ideas now: it’s about helping negotiations resume to achieve peace, because it’s the parties involved who must negotiate. Nobody can negotiate in their place, that’s obvious, but there are no negotiations for the time being. So the negotiations must be able to be resumed. That’s one aspect.

Another aspect in which, as I was saying, lessons are learned from past years is having an international support mechanism, group, committee, I don’t know what it should be called, so that – especially in the final stages of the negotiation, if the negotiation is to resume – this group can help complete these final stages. We’ve seen in the past, even when there have been negotiations, that people don’t manage to complete the final stages because one of the governments says, “ah, it’s not possible, it requires sacrifices which are too great”, and the other says the same, so there has to be support.

And there’s also this prospect of a Security Council resolution, but it’s not an end in itself. I fully appreciated what President Abbas said: “We must be realistic, a resolution is valuable if it can be adopted and it’s valuable if it’s applied. It’s not a resolution for the sake of a resolution.”

So this is about both a traditional and, in some respects, a slightly novel approach to the issues put to our interlocutors for consideration.

I want to thank President Abbas and my friend, his foreign minister, very much for lending their support to these ideas. Now of course, this is bound to be argued over later, but on the principle, the President was kind enough to lend his support to these ideas – these possible ways forward, so to speak. (…)

I repeated to President Abbas, as I will soon to the Israeli authorities, how essential it is for the parties involved to be able to pick up the thread of their dialogue themselves, and that we’re here to help and in no way to usurp anyone’s role, with a single aim: security and peace. (…)./.

Israel/Palestinian Territories – Statements made by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, before his meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister (excerpts)

Jerusalem, 21 June 2015

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, for your kind welcome; I appreciate it.

I’ve been in the region for two days. I had the opportunity of meeting President Sisi and a number of ministers from the Arab countries. I had a meeting with the King of Jordan this morning, then with President Abbas early in the afternoon and now it’s my pleasure, following my meeting with the Israeli President, to be having a meeting with you.

This visit, although it’s quick, has one goal. As you know, France is committed to security and peace. You said some kind, valid things about France’s history and about what we’ve sought to share with others – including your country, of course. And one of the commitments we’ve always had is the commitment to security and peace. This is the case when you look at the Iran issue – I’ll say a few words about this – and when it comes to the so-called Israeli-Palestinian issue.

We’d like – this hasn’t been possible so far, which is very difficult – genuine peace, where Israel’s security is guaranteed, without which nothing is possible, and where, moreover, Palestinians enjoy their rights and can have a state; we’d like this to be able to come into existence. And, to remove any doubts – because I think there have been mistakes in the way this has been interpreted –, we in no way intend to bypass the negotiations aspect. It’s obviously for the negotiators, the parties, i.e. both Israel and the Palestinians, to hold discussions.

This doesn’t preclude there being international support. Today there’s the Quartet, which – putting it diplomatically – hasn’t been totally effective. But there needs to be international support, particularly for the final stages, because the final stages are often the toughest.

You talked about the resolution as well. A resolution is never an end in itself, it’s a means [to an end] and we’ve absolutely no intention of putting together a resolution for its own sake if it’s going to be rejected, if it isn’t going to be implemented. So I think that the few words I’ve just said and the conversation we’re going to have together will allow a judgment to be formed about this.

What are we talking about? Many people are worried. President Sisi, the King of Jordan, the Palestinians, the Israelis in another way and we ourselves are worried because of everything that’s happening in the world at large and because terrorists are connected; that’s the reality.

And if we don’t manage to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue, we risk having outbursts of violence. (…)

So the effort France is making is extremely specific and clear: we’d like to do everything in our power to promote peace and security in this region of the world and we’re asking the parties to negotiate. If we can help – when I say “we”, I don’t mean just France, I mean all those of goodwill –, we will. (…)

Otherwise, the friendship between Israel and France is one which dates back a long time. There are ups and downs. But what matters is that we’re committed to [tackling] the same root causes, and those words you said at the start – liberty, equality, fraternity, security and peace. And as we see it, there must be a solution to the nagging Israeli-Palestinian issue, which has gone on for many years. But there can’t be a solution if Israel’s security isn’t assured. Thank you./.

Published on 24/06/2015

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