France proposes conference to restart peace talks


JERUSALEM (JTA) — France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppe, offered to host a meeting next month to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Juppe said Thursday during a visit to Ramallah in the West Bank that he had spoken to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the previous day about the possibility of holding the conference.

Juppe reportedly said during a meeting with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that the initiative is based on President Obama’s recent Middle East policy speech, which called for Israel to agree to a return to 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps.

While Obama stressed Israel’s security, he said, France is concerned for "security for both states," the French news agency AFP reported.

Juppe called on the two sides to return to the negotiating table, saying there would be "consequences" if no agreement is reached by September, when the Palestinians have said they will go to the United Nations in order to seek a declaration of statehood. 

The European Union and the United States support the French plan, he said. 

Juppe did not say if France would support the statehood declaration, saying "all options are open."

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