French president calls for return of Middle East peace talks

French President Emmanuel Macron today called for the re-launch of peace talks in the Middle East, noting that a new wave of violence could erupt “at any moment”.

Tensions, violence and terrorism persist in the Middle East,” said the French head of state upon receiving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

Macron said that “the return of direct political dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians” is necessary, which is currently paralyzed.

“It is a demanding path, full of pitfalls, with the only alternative being to relaunch our efforts for peace,” said the French president, repeating comments made 15 days ago to Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

“A new deadly spiral could start at any moment”, insisted Macron, calling for “an end to unilateral measures”, referring to the “evictions of Palestinian families, demolitions and the settlement policy (…) that impede the state”. Palestinian to live in peace alongside Israel.”

Mahmoud Abbas, 87, recently increased his travels after a two-year hiatus linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abbas spoke last Friday in Belém with the US head of state, Joe Biden, who made his first trip to the Middle East since taking over the US presidency.

President Abbas accused Israeli forces of “settlement-building activities, daily assassinations and incursions”.

“We want this to stop,” said the Palestinian leader.

This is the first time since September 2018 that Mahmoud Abbas has been in Paris at the invitation of a French president.

The Palestinian president called for clarification on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, the Palestinian-American journalist killed on May 11 while covering an Israeli army operation in the West Bank.

The journalist was “killed in cold blood and for no reason”, said the Palestinian head of state.

“Who killed Shireen Abu Akleh? We want the killer to be found,” added Abbas.

The recent visit to the Middle East by President Biden, who declared himself a “Zionist” on arrival, was considered disappointing by Palestinians.

Biden reiterated his support for the “two-state solution” and declared that there must be “a political horizon for the Palestinian people.”

However, the US head of state also said that there were no conditions to restart the peace process, did not offer any substantive plan on the issue of Israeli occupation and did not take a position on the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian territory that Israel has occupied since 1967.

Source: With Agencies

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