Palestinian FM Claims France Drops Bid for UN Resolution to Kickstart Peace Talks

Maliki says U.S. and Israeli pressure on France led them to backtrack from diplomatic plans – at least until a deal is reached with Iran; Palestinian officials say Maliki's remarks are more interpretation than based on actual fact.

Reuters

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said Tuesday that a French diplomatic bid to advance a United Nations resolution to restart the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has been abandoned by the lysée Palace in wake of pressure by Israel and the U.S.

Senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah who spoke with Haaretz said that al-Malki's comments were not entirely accurate, and that it was more his analysis of the updates he had received on the matter than information based on an official decision by the French.

Al-Maliki told the Voice of Palestine radio station in an interview Tuesday said that "the French initiative to put forward a UN Security Council resolution based on the two-state solution and renewing peace talks is no longer topping the agenda of French leadership and they have withdrawn [from the idea]."

Al-Malki reportedly further claimed that the French change of heart was a result of pressure by Israel and the U.S., with the later reportedly saying that it should remain off the diplomatic docket until a deal is reached with Iran.

Instead, al-Malki claimed, the French were now attempting to save face and by putting forward a new proposal calling for the formation of a committee to oversee the renewal of talks. However, al-Malki dismissed the idea.

A senior Palestinian official who was present at a meeting between French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Palestinian leadership some two weeks ago rejected al-Malki's claim, telling Haaretz it was inaccurate to say that the French had rescinded their proposal. However, he did admit that pressure was mounting on the French. 

He also told Haaretz that the French initiative was still in its initial stages: "The French made a proposal and suggested some ideas, and we are still learning them. We know there is pressure from Israel and from the U.S., we know that if this process will come to fruition then it won't be before September of even the end of the year when the issue with Iran is cleared."

Another Palestinian official who spoke to Haaretz confirmed the sentiment, saying that "all clocks are now set to Teheran time – especially the Americans'." He further said that Israel is reluctant to renew the peace process on the basis of the 1967 Green Line, the two-state solution and a freeze in settlement construction, and hence "at this point, there is nothing to talk about."