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Thursday, December 03, 2009

France has 'strong reservations' about Swedish proposal on Jerusalem

In an interview that will appear in Friday's JPost, French ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot said that his country has 'several strong reservations' to a Swedish proposal that would have the European Union recognize 'east' Jerusalem as the 'Palestinian' capital.
Bigot, in an interview that will appear in full in Friday's Post, said that France expressed its reservations on the text for two reasons.

"First, it should take into account the positive move of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu regarding the partial freeze on settlement construction. We should welcome such a move even if it does not meet all our expectations," he said.

"And secondly, we consider that we want to promote the re-launching of the peace process. These should be the two issues that should mainly be dealt within the statement."


According to Bigot, "several" of the EU states had "a series of remarks and observations" on the Swedish proposal.

"I'm pretty sure that the text that will be agreed by next Tuesday will be different from the text proposed by Sweden last Friday," he said.

Bigot, asked what France or the EU could do to push Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to negotiations, said: "We are not going to pressure someone in a delicate position. It is not about pressure. To the contrary, we can give him some help, guarantees, reassure him and look at the framework of the negotiations." [I guess it's okay to pressure Netanyahu because he's not in a delicate position. CiJ]

As to what kind of help might be offered, Bigot hinted at the possibility of EU forces in the West Bank.

"The EU has said several times we are willing to provide security guarantees," he said.

"If there is any agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and if they are interested and willing [to go] in that direction, the EU has said repeatedly we are willing to provide security guarantees in the West Bank - that would help both the Israelis and the Palestinians." [Like they did in Gaza? CiJ]

Asked if that meant EU troops on the West Bank border or patrolling in Nablus, Bigot said, "How it will work depends on the agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians, and what they are looking for.

"There are several options between a minimalist observation mission, to a maximalist NATO force. This really depends on the two parties. We are not going to impose on them something. It is up to them, basically."
I can't wait to see what they do on Tuesday.....


At 7:55 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Given the EU's pro-Palestinian disposition, Israel should turn down an offer of an EU peacekeeping force. It was only two years ago EU observers fled from the Gaza-Israel border area after Hamas took over. The EU thinks people have short memories.


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