France adamant on peace initiative

France's Middle East envoy says his country is determined to promote its peace initiative, urges Israel to take part.

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Nitsan Keidar,

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Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

France is adamant on promoting its diplomatic initiative in an attempt to resume peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"We intend to promote the French initiative by the end of this year," France’s Middle East envoy, Pierre Vimont, said on Sunday at a conference on relations between Israel and the EU.

"We feel that the two-state solution is slipping away,” he continued. “The French government is worried that there is no alternative to the two-state solution on the horizon and we are interested in moving forward to take advantage of the window of opportunity to advance this issue."

Vimont added, "We have been told that we have to stick to the status quo in the initiative, but today the situation is reversed, the status quo is precisely what distances the two-state solution. We want to revive the two-state solution and bring it back to the international agenda."

"The French initiative is not an attempt to interfere in Israeli policy but rather an attempt to harness the goodwill of the international community for the sake of the solution. Partners who were not involved in the issue have already turned to us, asking how they can volunteer and help promote the initiative," said the French envoy.

"The initiative is intended inter alia to re-examine which of the parties wishes to proceed and which does not. If the Israeli government decides to take part, it will be a test of Israel's commitment to the issue," he concluded.

The French initiative, introduced last June, aims to host an international peace summit in hopes to "help advance the prospects for peace.”

Israel has thus far rejected the initiative and insists that the only way to achieve peace is through direct talks with the PA.