Conference for peace in the Middle East (15 January 2017)
Over 70 countries and international organisations will attend this conference hosted by Jean-Marc Ayrault, at which the French President François Hollande will speak.
Why was the Middle East Peace initiative launched?
Because the situation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is getting worse in the absence of prospects for negotiations. Growing threats are weighing on the two-State solution, particularly the continuation of settlement-building and security problems facing the region’s peoples. The crises engulfing the region (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc.) have in no way reduced the significance or the symbolic importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is our responsibility not to negotiate in place of the two parties, which is neither possible nor desirable, but to act to create political momentum conducive to new negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians themselves.
Who will be taking part in the meeting in Paris on 15 January?
Over 70 countries and international organisations will attend this conference hosted by Jean-Marc Ayrault, at which the French President François Hollande will speak. The major international players concerned are: the Quartet (United States, European Union, Russia, United Nations), the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Arab and European partners, G20 countries and other actors committed to peace. This is a wider international conference in terms of participation than that of 3 June 2016, resulting from the momentum we have managed to generate for our initiative. It will be France’s role to inform Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the Conference’s message.
How will this differ from the meeting on 3 June 2016?
On 3 June last year, 28 countries or international organizations met in Paris at France’s invitation. That meeting sought to send a signal of the international community’s remobilization in support of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, putting this absolute necessity back on the diplomatic agenda. Following the 3 June 2016 meeting, there were a number of developments: report from the Middle East Quartet, published on 1 July 2016; Russian and Egyptian initiatives; adoption on 23 December 2016 of resolution 2334 which, as Jean-Marc Ayrault has underlined, “recalls the importance of the solution of the two States, Israel and Palestine, living in peace and security.” Moreover, work on the incentives announced on 3 June 2016 has moved forward in the three following fields:
• civil society;
• economic incentives;
• capacity building for the future Palestinian State.
Is there really any hope of a result?
Everyone is well aware of the difficulties dealing with a conflict that has lasted several decades. But we cannot remain as onlookers of a deadlocked situations that creates despair and insecurity. Our aim remains to mobilize the entire international community so that it actively commits by supporting a resumption of the peace process.
To achieve this, we must first together reaffirm our commitment to the two-State solution, which is the only way to ensure a fair and sustainable solution to the conflict.
We also need to make peace an attractive option again, by assembling the concrete contributions that all international partners are prepared to provide. These contributions will be central to the Conference on 15 January thanks to the reports from the working groups created in summer 2016.