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France - Middle East

France welcomes Israel-Palestine talks

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (left) with Pakestinian negotiators Ahmad Qurei (right) and Saeb Erekat (centre) in 2008 in Jerusalem
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (left) with Pakestinian negotiators Ahmad Qurei (right) and Saeb Erekat (centre) in 2008 in Jerusalem Reuters

France has welcomed talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, set to start on Tuesday in Washington after a break of three years, according to a Palestinian official. Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius hailed a “potentially major step forward”.

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“It is in everyone’s interest to end the conflict and guarantee the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, living in peace and security alongside Israel,” Fabius said in a statement on Sunday.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

He promised that France would “not spare any effort to help the negotiations and take part in the enactment of a peace agreement, when appropriate”.

Fabius phoned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Wednesday to urge them to start direct talks soon, announced by US Senator John Kerry on 19 July.

An anonymous Palestinian official said on Saturday that direct talks will start on 30 July in Washington.

Israel has not officially confirmed the news but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Saturday evening that 104 Palestinian prisoners will be released as part of the process.

The Israeli cabinet was discussing the move on Sunday morning.

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