PLO: Palestine welcomes French-sponsored peace talks

Published February 22nd, 2016 - 04:00 GMT
Palestinians hold national flags during a march on Feb. 19, 2016 in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, to mark the 11th anniversary of their uprising against the separation barrier and the construction of Israel settlements. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Palestinians hold national flags during a march on Feb. 19, 2016 in the West Bank village of Bilin, near Ramallah, to mark the 11th anniversary of their uprising against the separation barrier and the construction of Israel settlements. (AFP/Abbas Momani)

Palestinians are ready to take part in a French-sponsored international peace conference this summer, a senior Palestine Liberation Organization source told Anadolu Agency.

The conference is slated for July and will see the participation of representatives from the international quartet and several Arab states.

“We welcome the idea that the French government wants to hold direct peace talks under the auspices of the UN between us [the Palestinians] and the Israelis,” the source said on Saturday.

But, according to the source, the Palestinians have some preconditions, including a time limit for the talks and the need for Israel to halt settlement construction during the negotiations.

“We cannot sit down at the negotiating table while Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem,” the source said.

In January, former French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced France’s support for an international conference aimed at resuming stalled peace talks.

Fabius said that, if the conference ended in failure, France would unilaterally recognize the state of Palestine.

The Palestinian source said that PLO officials, along with representatives from the Arab League, held several meeting with the French over the past seven months.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the French plan as “baffling” and bound to fail.

“Netanyahu’s statement was not a surprise for us,” the PLO source said. “He is a prime minister of a right-wing government that believes in settlement building, not a two-state solution.” 

By Anees Baghouti


© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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