Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and French President Francois HollandeFlash 90

France will not stop trying to promote its initiative to convene an international peace conference by the end of the year despite Israel's negative response to the idea, senior French diplomats told the Haaretz newspaper on Monday evening.

Earlier on Monday, Israeli officials meeting with French envoy Pierre Vimont reiterated Israel’s firm opposition to the peace initiative, aimed at restarting long-stalled peace efforts with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"Envoy Pierre Vimont's discussion with Israeli government representatives in Jerusalem [on Monday] was sincere and difficult," French diplomats told Haaretz after the meeting.

"The negative Israeli response was predictable, and we will take Israel's position into consideration. However, we plan to carry on promoting our peace initiative," they stressed.

The French envoy had met with National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel and senior envoy Isaac Molho, who stressed to him that Israel remains opposed to the French initiative and would not attend such an event if held against Israel's wishes.

During the meeting, according to Haaretz, Vimont presented the updated French agenda aimed at convening an international conference by year's end. Vimont updated Nagel and Molho about his dealings with various countries and active working groups established after foreign ministers' met in June as part of the initiative.

Vimon on Sunday spoke at a conference on relations between Israel and the EU and stressed that France was adamant on promoting its peace initiative in order to revive the “two-state solution”.

While Israel has rejected the French initiative, the PA has accepted it but has continued to seek an alternative in case the United States may seek to modify it – namely in the form of a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli “settlements”.