Trying to Fill Void, France Holds Talks on Mideast Peace Process

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Secretary of State John Kerry, center, greeted Borge Brende, a unfamiliar apportion of Norway, in Paris on Friday during talks on a Middle East assent process. Diplomats from 29 countries attended.

Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

PARIS — With a Obama administration carrying effectively given adult on negotiating a understanding between a Israelis and a Palestinians, France attempted a palm on Friday during creation Middle East assent though finished a day with small to uncover for a efforts.

Even before President François Hollande convened diplomats from 29 countries for a event — including Secretary of State John Kerry though no member of possibly a Israelis or a Palestinians — France had corroborated off a initial wish that it could furnish swell where United States-led efforts had not.

Still, a assembly underscored how a moving attribute between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, diseased care among a Palestinians and a array of other conflicts in a segment have total to emanate a tactful blank during a time when Europe’s support for Israel has shown some cracks.

“The French are holding advantage of a opening left by a United States,” Frédérique Schillo, a French historian who specializes in Israel and ubiquitous relations, pronounced in a write talk from Jerusalem.

“They have duly remarkable a disaster of Kerry’s mission,” Ms. Schillo said, referring to 9 months of talks spearheaded by Mr. Kerry that collapsed in 2014.

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“And they have also remarkable a certain disengagement of a Americans in a Middle East,” she added, including in Israel, though also on other issues like a dispute in Syria, where a United States corroborated out of conducting airstrikes in 2013, withdrawal a French bitter.

Since then, however, a United States has been by distant a many active nation in a quarrel opposite President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

Mr. Hollande concurred a complexity of a assent talks in his opening remarks on Friday.

“We are no longer in a conditions of 1993, with a Oslo accords, or of 2002, with a Arab assent initiative. We aren’t in a conditions of 2007, with a large ubiquitous discussion in Annapolis,” Mr. Hollande said. “We are in 2016, with a fight in Syria, with a fight in Iraq, with terrorism and fundamentalism.”

In a dual years given Mr. Kerry’s efforts to negotiate a understanding between a Israelis and a Palestinians pennyless down, tensions between a dual parties have simmered and flared repeatedly, call France to introduce a new process.

But in a months given divulgence a beginning in January, France had already gradual a ambitions and a routine positions amid a change in a unfamiliar routine leadership. The French unfamiliar apportion during a time of a initial proposal, Laurent Fabius, had pronounced in Jan that France would unilaterally commend Palestine as an eccentric state if a bid failed. Mr. Fabius has given been transposed by Jean-Marc Ayrault and is no longer pulling for uneven approval of an eccentric Palestinian state.

The assembly on Friday, that lasted usually about 3 hours, amounted to small some-more than an extended print opportunity, a approach for France to uncover that it was still committed to a assent routine in a Middle East.

In a matter released after a conference, a participants pronounced that they had “reaffirmed” their joining to a two-state solution, and voiced alarm about a conditions on a ground, “in sold continued acts of assault and ongoing allotment activity.”

“The participants underscored that a standing quo is not sustainable,” a matter said. The matter called for “fully finale a Israeli function that began in 1967,” denunciation that differed from that typically used by a United States in a tact around a conflict.

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But a discussion constructed few petrify measures to be taken in a nearby future. Instead, French officials said, a assembly was a initial step toward fostering a certain sourroundings for a Israelis and a Palestinians to lapse to a negotiating table. The French pronounced they would coordinate discussions and assistance classify another ubiquitous discussion by a finish of a year, this time with a Israelis and a Palestinians.

“The idea isn’t to force a parties to negotiate,” Mr. Ayrault pronounced during a news discussion after a meeting. “But we are not cursed to do nothing, cursed to stay lay idly by as observers, simply expressing regrets.”

Israel and a Palestinians have voiced clever disagreements about a French initiative. The Palestinians, who have oral of a need to “internationalize” a Israeli-Palestinian conflict, have welcomed it.

Saeb Erekat, a comparison Palestine Liberation Organization central and a Palestinians’ arch negotiator, pronounced in an op-ed published in a Israeli journal Haaretz on Thursday that a French beginning was a “the flutter of wish Palestine has been watchful for.”

“We are assured that it will yield a transparent horizon with tangible parameters for a resumption of negotiations,” Mr. Erekat wrote.

Israel, however, is stridently against to France’s initiative.

Reacting to a assembly hold in Paris on Friday, a Israeli Foreign Ministry pronounced that a discussion “constituted a missed opportunity.”

“History will record that a discussion in Paris usually hardened a Palestinian position and distanced a chances for peace,” a matter said.

Speaking on a eve of a Paris meeting, Dore Gold, a executive ubiquitous of a Israeli Foreign Ministry, even compared a French bid to a Sykes-Picot agreement, a tip colonialist agreement sealed by Britain and France 100 years ago to order adult a domain of a Ottoman Empire.

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Describing a complicated Middle East as being “in an modernized theatre of meltdown,” Mr. Gold said, “Initiatives of this arrange unsuccessful afterwards and will destroy today.”

The Israeli care says it prefers a informal lane whereby a assuage Arab states would yield a infrastructure for a resumption of approach Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

But it is misleading to what border Arab leaders will be peaceful concur plainly with Israel’s worried government, and after years of futile, few negotiations with Israel, a Palestinians contend they have mislaid wish in shared talks.

After a assembly in Paris on Friday, when asked about Mr. Gold’s comparison of a French beginning to a Sykes-Picot agreement, Federica Mogherini, a European Union’s unfamiliar routine chief, pronounced that though a “regional and ubiquitous framework” a dual parties would not “spontaneously” lay down during a negotiating table.

“It is not about imposing, it is not about dictating, it is not even about indicating a stairs or a content,” Ms. Mogherini said. “It is about formulating a space, a possibility, a horizon for a parties to re-engage seriously, credibly.”

“We still impute to a Middle East process, though a existence of fact is that during this impulse there is no assent routine during all,” she said.

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