Hollande tells Israel to back off settlements 19Nov13 November 19, 2013


ps19-hollande-wide-20131118222633387542-620x349The Age   -   19 November 2013

French President Francois Hollande has called for a complete halt to Israel’s settlement activities on land the Palestinians want for a future state.

“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity,” he said at a joint media conference in Ramallah with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas.

Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, the French leader warned that settlement construction was problematic for the peace talks which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.

“Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution,” Mr Hollande said.

Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has announced thousands of new settler homes in a move which has angered Ramallah.

But Mr Abbas on Sunday told AFP that peace talks with Israel would continue for the full nine months agreed with Washington “regardless of what happens on the ground”.

In talks with the Israeli leadership on Sunday, Mr Hollande said France expected the government to make “gestures” with respect to settlement construction, although he did not indicate exactly what that might involve.

“If you want peace, you need to have gestures towards peace,” he said.

Agence France-Presse

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/hollande-tells-israel-to-back-off-settlements-20131118-2xrl6.html#ixzz2l24dwv8t

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