Palestine to cooperate with France on holding peace conference

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Ramallah, March 15 (IANS) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday announced that the Palestinians were ready to cooperate with France on holding an international conference for achieving peace in the Middle East.

Abbas’s reiteration was made in a meeting held at his office in Ramallah with France’s special peace envoy Pierre Vimont, who is visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories, Xinhua reported.

According to the Palestinian official, Abbas explained to Vimont the Palestinians appreciation to France’s backing role in the peace process and the ideas that Paris presented for a peace solution.

“The Palestinian leadership fully backs these important ideas,” Abbas was quoted as saying, referring the French ideas of pushing forward the stalled peace process and find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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The French diplomat previewed to Abbas in details his country’s ideas, mainly the point related to holding an international conference for peace in the Middle East, and the contacts with the international community.

“Palestine is also holding intensive and deep contacts with various international parties to ear enough support for holding the conference and find a mechanism to resolve the Palestinian question,” said Abbas.

He also said “resolving the Palestinian question has to be based on the principle of the two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative and the international resolutions, as well as a time schedule for ending the Israeli occupation.”

Meanwhile, a well-informed Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Vimont told Abbas that he did not find any Israeli enthusiasm to the French ideas.

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“Israel still believes that resuming the bilateral negotiations between the two sides is the main solution,” said the official, adding that Vimont told Abbas that France holds contacts with the US and Russia to examine their positions.

The official went on saying that Abbas explained to Vimont that the Palestinians “are very much enthusiastic” for the French ideas and that he contacted many parties to gain their support mainly the Arab League.

Before Vimont meeting with Abbas, Secretary General of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Saeb Erekat said on Tuesday that the Palestinians are ready to fully cooperate with France in succeeding its ideas.

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