French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault welcomes US Secretary of State John Kerry as he arrives for the Mideast peaceconference in Paris, France, January 15, 2017. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

France on Sunday held an international meeting to seek ways to revive the stranded Middle East peace negotiations and to push for the implementation of a two-state solution to restore security in the region after decades of conflict.

The Middle East Peace Conference held here brought together representatives from about 70 countries, including the UN Security Council permanent members, key European countries and major Arab states.

However, neither Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas nor Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are represented in the meeting. Israelis called the meeting a “rigged conference” aiming to adopt additional anti-Israel stances.

French President Francois Hollande addressed the gathering, saying the two-state solution is being threatened by multiple factors including Israeli settlements and increasing mistrust between the two sides.

He stressed that the solution of two states is still the objective of the international community for the future.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who chairs the Paris gathering, also urged for a resumption of the peace talks at the opening speech.

“Peace cannot be found in hate. The aim of the conference is precisely to allow a resumption of dialogue,” Ayrault said.

France affirmed that the meeting wouldn’t impose conditions on the two rival camps to reach a lasting a peace accord.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to move U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem also was mentioned here on Sunday.

As uncertainty clouding the new U.S. administration’s handling of the Middle East conflict, Hollande called on everyone to understand that “nothing can be improvised, or disrupted.”

Despite international community objection, Trump pledged to relocate U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for more than six decades, to Jerusalem, a flashpoint in the long conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians.

On the sidelines of the conference, Ayrault called Trump’s move a “provocation” and warned about “extremely serious consequences.”

“When you are president of the United States, you cannot take such a clear-cut, unilateral position on this issue. You have to try to create the conditions for peace,” he said.

The last round of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian authorities broke down in April 2014 after the two sides failed to resolve their deep disputes on issues, such as Israeli settlements, Palestinian state borders and security.

Source: Xinhua/


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