French PM Manuel Valls to visit Israel, Palestine in push for peace talks

Published May 11th, 2016 - 01:30 GMT
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials during a visit later in May. (AFP/Eric Feferberg)
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials during a visit later in May. (AFP/Eric Feferberg)

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls will visit the region within the next ten days with a view to restarting the stalled Middle East peace process, local media reported on Wednesday.

"The visit aims to discuss France's Israel-Palestine peace plan and ways to push the peace processes in the region," Israeli Radio said.

"Prime Minister Valls’ office confirmed that he will arrive for a four-day visit between May 21 and 24 and would meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials," the broadcaster added.

Valls’ visit comes ahead of a planned French-sponsored international conference slated for May 30, at which officials from 20 countries will meet to discuss means of resuming peace talks.

While the French peace initiative has been welcomed by the Palestinian Authority, Israel has rejected the plan, insisting that peace can only be achieved through direct talks between the two antagonists.

Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators broke down in April 2014 over the Jewish state’s refusal to release a group of Palestinian political prisoners despite earlier pledges to do so.

Since then, all attempts to revive negotiations between the two sides have failed, due mainly to Israel's insistence on maintaining its policy of unbridled settlement construction on occupied Arab land.

Palestinian negotiators, for their part, insist that Israeli settlement building on Palestinian land must stop before a comprehensive peace agreement can be reached.


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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