French FM: Only the 'two-state solution' will work

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says international summit must result in guarantees and not declarations.

Elad Benari ,

Jean-Marc Ayrault
Jean-Marc Ayrault

An international meeting meant to kickstart the Israel-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace process must result in guarantees and not just declarations, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Haaretz Thursday night, shortly after his country announced the May 30 summit.

The goal of the summit, he said, is to “build a collective commitment of the international community in preparation for paving a diplomatic horizon for peace. It is in everyone’s interest.”

“The guiding principle is also clear and recognized: The two-state solution,” Ayrault told Haaretz and added, “I want to return to the guiding principles of this solution, because there is a tendency not to mention them. We are talking about the State of Israel and the state of Palestine living side by side in peace and security, with secure and recognized borders on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem their shared capital.”

He acknowledged that Israel does not accept such a solution and that “the parties are now far apart, maybe more than ever”, but also said there is no other solution and stressed, “The only other option is a fatalistic acceptance of conflict. I reject that approach.”

“We know there is a very narrow opening for this initiative, and it is clear we could also have ignored this opportunity. But all our partners agree there is a clear and present danger to a renewed flare-up of violence,” Ayrault said, according to Haaretz. “Over 20 countries understood this and confirmed their intention to participate in the conference. We are working in full transparency with the Israelis and Palestinians on our intentions, and I will clarify them again when I come to the region soon. We are working closely with Egypt, which completely supports the initiative, with the Saudis, with the Jordanians, with the members of the Arab League who support the initiative.”

Asked whether France’s threat that it will recognize a Palestinian state if Israel does not cooperate with the initiative is still in effect, the French Foreign Minister replied, “To speak now about what France will do or not do in the case of failure would not be productive. In the case of failure, France will act according to its responsibility. But today I do not want to speak about failure, otherwise there would not be any reason to try — there would not be any reason to meet with you.”

Ayrault’s comments came hours after PA foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said that a push for a UN resolution demanding an end to "Israeli settlement expansion" will be put on hold in order to focus instead on the French proposal.

The draft resolution was circulated to Arab countries and to some members of the Security Council earlier this month as part of the PA’s drive for UN action in support of the two-state solution.

In 2014, the PA submitted a resolution to the UN which called for Israel to “end the occupation” - that is, to withdraw from Judea and Samaria - by 2017.

The resolution was put to a vote in the UN Security Council, but failed to secure enough votes in favor to pass.