Several weeks following the recent presidential elections in France, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror to Paris. Aside from discussing Iran's nuclear program with his French counterpart, Amidror held an unusual meeting with newly-elected French President Francois Hollande, in which he conveyed a "personal message" from Netanyahu.
Amidror arrived in Paris on Tuesday, along with other security officials, such as the head of the Foreign Ministry's strategic division, Jeremy Issacharoff. The two met officials in charge of the Iran nuclear issue at the French Foreign Ministry and defense establishment, ahead of the a third round of P5+1 nuclear talks to be held June 18 in Moscow.
However, the more significant part of the visit was Amidror's meeting with Hollande on Wednesday morning. The session was a relatively rare affair, since French presidents usually meet foreign dignitaries and leaders, not top-level officials.
Former French President Nikola Sarkozy, for example, used to meet Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak when they visited Paris.
Word of the meeting was even publicized in a special announcement by Hollande's office, saying that the French president expressed France's desire to “deepen the ties between the two nations and develop existing relations on all areas between civil societies in Israel and France.”
"This confident cooperation will no doubt intensify diplomatic discourse around shared interests and strengthen the closeness which brings the two peoples together," the statement read.
According to French officials, Hollande responded to the personal message from Netanyahu, and told Amidror that he is interested in meeting Netanyahu.
It is unclear what the subject of Netanyahu's message to Hollande was, but it is possible to guess that it dealt with developing working ties between the two leaders, as well as with issues concerning Iran and the Palestinians.
Even before Hollande took office, he sent Laurent Fabius to Israel, who he later appointed as foreign minister. In the same visit, Fabius made clear that there will be no change in France's position on the Iranian issue and that it will uphold Sarkozy's aggressive stance.
Several hours following the meeting between Amidror and Hollande, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas landed in Paris, who will meet with the French president on Friday.
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