Israel told France on Monday that it remains opposed to the French initiative to hold an international peace conference in Paris, nor would it attend such an event if held against Israel's wishes.
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The Prime Minister's Office announced that acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel and senior envoy Yitzhak Molho explained Israel's position during a meeting in Jerusalem with French envoy Pierre Vimont.
During the meeting, Vimont presented the updated French agenda aimed at convening an international conference by year's end. Vimont updated Nagel and Molho about his dealings with various countries and active working groups established after foreign ministers' met in June as part of the initiative.
"Nagel and Molho clearly and unequivocally stressed to the French envoy Israel's position that genuine advancement of the peace process and reaching an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians," the Prime Minister's Office stated. "All other initiatives only distance peace in the region."
The Prime Minister's Office further stated that Molcho and Nagel stressed that Israel would not participate in any international conference convened in contrast to its position.
Promoting this conference would severely harm prospects of advancing the peace process since it would allow Abbas and the Palestinian Authority to continue evading direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions," Molcho and Nagel told the French envoy. "Israel expects France to avoid promoting a conference or process contrary to Israel's official position."
On Sunday, Vimont told a conference in Tel Aviv that France is still determined to promote its plan to convene an international peace conference in Paris by the end of the year.
Vimont noted that Israel's participation in such a conference would demonstrate its commitment to a two-state solution, adding that he would go to the U.S. immediately following Tuesday's elections to coordinate possible steps over the next two months with the outgoing Obama administration.