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International Community Recognizes Difficulties in Relaunching Peace Initiative during Paris Summit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault arrives to host an international conference in a bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, in Paris, France, Friday. (Reuters/Stephane de Sakutin/Pool)

Paris-As expected, the international meeting on the Middle East held in Paris did not come up with clear resolutions as it only showed international awareness of the dangers of tension in the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was the most optimistic as he was hopeful for a second summit in Paris during the fall.

The importance of a second summit lies in including both the Palestinians and Israelis who weren’t invited to the summit on Friday. The second reason for Ayrault’s optimism is that he hopes the direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations will resume in the suitable time with the support of France.

This optimism was not supported despite everyone realizing the gravity of the situation in the Middle East. Yet, in his opening speech, Ayrault didn’t speak of the second summit or resumption of direct negotiations.

Arab diplomatic source said that the 29 attendees stressed on the difficulties of relaunching the peace Initiative without any definite date.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t really rely on the meeting, to which he told the press: “We’ll see..We’ll have that meeting but we should know where it’s heading and what will happen.”

Sources reported that Kerry also held many side-meetings. A French diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Kerry should let us work and we know his opinion on the matter: What’s not American, cannot happen.”

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that international parties should find a solution as the Palestinians and Israelis are unable to do that themselves.

Mogherini told reporters: “The policy of settlement expansion and demolitions, violence, and incitement tells us very clearly that the perspective that Oslo opened up is seriously at risk of fading away.”

Speaking to the press, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said that the initiative has all the elements needed for a final resolution as he hoped Israel would be wise to seize such an opportunity.

When asked by Asharq Al-Awsat whether there were any adjustments done to the Arab Peace Initiative, al-Jubeir said that the initiative doesn’t need any adjusting for being clear the way it is.

It is worth mentioning, that for years now Israel has been ignoring the Arab Peace Initiative adopted in 2002 during the Arab Summit in Beirut.

Due to political pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently declared there are positive elements but demanded some alterations without specifying them exactly.

During an interview with “Yediot Ahronot”, French Prime Minister Manuel Valles urged Arab states to recognize Israel in order to strengthen the peace process in the region.

The closing statement of the initiative referred to the Arab Peace Initiative and stressed on the importance of activating it.

The closing statement also spoke of the settlements expansion that can threaten both states. In addition, the statement asked both parties to show willingness to rebuild trust between them.

Minister Ayrault stressed that it is important to set an agenda for the negotiations as he promised talks will proceed for the end of year international summit.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stressed that the international community should commit to its promises in making the Palestinian state a reality.

Shoukry stressed the importance of cooperation between Washington, Moscow, and European States with the countries in the region to activate the peace initiative in order to reach a solution.

He also said that Egypt is willing to exert every effort to reach a solution, adding that Arabs can vividly remember France’s support for Palestinian rights in a Palestinian state.

The Arab League condemned Netanyahu’s statement in the Israeli Knesset that there will be no return to the era before June 1967 in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also asked Kerry to interfere to alleviate the intensity of the statements issued on the margin of Paris’ summit.

Netanyahu also called for “Political-Media” talks with the participation of foreign ministers, National Security Council, and National Media Committee.

Whereas Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said that the only way to achieve peace is through direct negotiations and with the support of Arab states and not through conventions.