21:02 GMT +305 December 2019
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    French Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Marc Ayrault addresses delegates at the opening of the Mideast peace conference in Paris on January 15, 2017.

    Paris Peace Conference Ends With Call for Two-State Solution, Dialogue

    © AFP 2019 / THOMAS SAMSON / POOL /
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    Sunday's Paris Peace Conference ended with a declaration that a two-state solution was the only path to peace for Israel and Palestine, but without representation from Israel or Palestine, its ultimate worth is in question.

    The final declaration of the conference, attended by representatives of some 70 countries, among them 36 foreign ministers, called for two states to live side by side, with Israel adhering to its 1967 borders — ceding back the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which it captured in the Six Day War.

    Participants "reiterated that a negotiated two-state solution should meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides, including the Palestinians' right to statehood and sovereignty, fully end the occupation that begin in 1967, satisfy Israel's security needs and resolve all permanent status issues on the basis of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and also recalled relevant Security Council resolutions," the final declaration detailed.

    It also supported the December 23 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement building in the West Bank that the US abstained from voting on, infuriating Israel. It also asked occupying and occupied states to pay heed to international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law.

    What can be built on such a declaration is unclear. US Secretary of State John Kerry called Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu from the Paris conference to promise him that he would try to "soften" the text of the final declaration and to reassure Netanyahu that he would prevent any follow-up resolutions within the Security Council, the Times of Israel reported.

    Israel had worried that the Peace Conference, which it dismissed, would lead to additional UN resolutions condemning its activities.

    French President François Hollande told the gathering the conference was urgently needed, despite criticisms. 

    "The two-state solution is threatened and there is a need to preserve it…. Now is not the moment to stop. The solution of two states is the only way forward and the only solution that will answer both sides' aspirations and legitimate rights," he said, the LA Times reports.

    Speaking at a press conference after the event, Foreign Minister of France Jean-Marc Ayrault said the meeting was meant as a hand reaching out to both parties. (Israeli officials had condemned the event as a way of "putting all of Israel on trial.")

    "What we are working on and what we want to contribute to is that the parties take the path of dialogue and negotiation that no longer exists today. This is a dangerous and disturbing situation," Ayrault said.

    "There is no future of peace in this region of the world, if we do not reaffirm the necessity of two states, that is to say that besides the State of Israel, the State of Palestine exists. There is no other way. This is the position of France," he stated.

    Ayrault also called discussions of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as has been suggested by members of the incoming US presidential administration, "a provocation."

    Kerry also called such discussions "inappropriate" after the conference.

    "It is being debated publicly at home and does not belong within international fora at this moment in time. It's inappropriate," he said.

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    settlements, two-state solution, Israel, Palestine, Paris
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