Hollande: France insists on 'two-state solution'

French President says his country is committed to a “two-state solution” and that won't change.

Elad Benari ,

Hollande at the annual CRIF dinner
Hollande at the annual CRIF dinner

French President Francois Hollande reiterated on Wednesday night that his country is committed to a “two-state solution” for the Middle East conflict.

The French leader, addressing an event hosted by the CRIF umbrella grouping of Jewish organizations, said a two-state solution was the only guarantee for Israel to remain a "pluralist and democratic society", reported AFP.

Hollande said there was only one way to have peace in the Middle East and that was to have Israel and “Palestine” side by side.

He added that it was up to the Israelis and Palestinians to come to an agreement on each issue, especially on the status of Jerusalem.

France would continue to monitor freedom of access and worship for Jews, Christians and Muslims in the holy city, he told the audience.

"This is the French position and I'm sure it won't change," stressed Hollande in the speech, which took place weeks before he is due to leave office.

His comments follow President Donald Trump’s shift away from an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

At his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week, Trump would not commit to the two-state solution as the only way to solve the conflict, saying he would back whatever solution the sides decide on.

"I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like,” said Trump. “I'm very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one."

His ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, later tempered this stance, saying Washington "absolutely" supports a two-state solution but wants new ideas on how to move forward.

“Anybody that wants to say the United States does not support the two-state solution, that would be an error. We absolutely support a two-state solution, but we are thinking out-of-the-box as well," she said.

Following Trump’s comments last week, France’s ambassador to the UN stressed that his country’s commitment to a two-state solution is "stronger than ever".

The ambassador, Francois Delattre, said, "It's not up to me, of course, to comment on other countries' position, but what I can say is our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever.”

A day later, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault expressed concerns over Trump’s remarks on the two-state solution, telling Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the Trump administration’s view regarding negotiations left Ayrault both “confused” and worried.