Real Clear Israel Press Release: President Rivlin meets with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

 Rivlin Main

Sunday, 21 June 2015 / 4 Tammuz 5775

President Rivlin meets with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

President Reuven Rivlin this afternoon (Sunday) held a working meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is visiting the region.  The President warmly welcomed the foreign minister, and opened by discussing the Israeli-Palestinian issue and in particular the unilateral efforts being made by the Palestinian Authority toward French Foreign Minister 1international institutions.  The President said, “We truly wish the Palestinians would come to the understanding that our intention is to enable us to live together in peace in this land. Sadly, the president of the Palestinian Authority is avoiding this, and trying to bring us to a situation whereby arrangements are imposed upon us, because he also knows that he will not be successful in promoting an agreement, even one including two states, in which the Palestinians live in a demilitarized state, which is not on an equal footing to the State of Israel. Israel for its part, has already taken unilateral steps in the Disengagement from Gaza, which left the Palestinians there under self-autonomy. The Palestinians’ answer to this was Hamas rule in Gaza and the ceaseless rocket, missile, and mortar attacks on Israel.”

The President stressed the importance of the rebuilding of confidence between the two sides in order to reach an agreement.  He said, “Confidence between us can be built around the rebuilding of Gaza, whilst this clearly means that the rebuilding does not enable a further attack on Israel. We cannot wait for President Abbas and Hamas to reach internal agreements about which of them will control Gaza. The rehabilitation of Gaza is also in the interest of Israel, and we hope that we will receive France’s support on this matter.”

The President continued to speak about the issue of Iran, and said, “We find ourselves under the direct and immediate danger of imperialism, when Iran declares at the UN that Israel should not exist. The Iranians are in Lebanon with Hezbollah, with Hamas in Gaza, with the Shia and the Sunnis, in Yemen and on the borders of IsraelRivlin2 on the Golan. Even without a nuclear weapon, with the 100,000 missiles they have supplied to Hezbollah they represent enough of a threat to Israel’s security, and we cannot allow such a reality.”

Foreign Minister Fabius thanked the President warmly for his welcome, he responded to the President and said, “France is guided by security, stability and peace, and we of course share in Israel’s demands concerning these.”  The Foreign Minister stressed, “France’s position is consistent with that which is understood, clearly and simply – and that is the need of the two sides to hold negotiations.  No one can replace either side in this issue, and this is our recommendation as a friend of both Israel and the Palestinians. Without negotiations there will be no progress.”

The Foreign Minister stressed that his visit was aimed at promoting the renewal of talks and said, “We are trying during this visit, to bring together all the threads once again, and return to the negotiations. The goal is clear, and first of all we are concerned for Israel’s security, and will assist in anyway on this issue.”

The Foreign Minister went on and addressed the question of resolutions in international institutions and said that international organizations have an important role to play in promoting the peace talks. He stressed that there was no interest in proposing resolutions at the Security Council if they are bound to fail or be vetoed, and rather there was a need to strive for a general agreement.

The President remarked, “There is a fear that it is the intention of the Palestinians to transfer the conflict to the UN and not to hold direct negotiations. Therefore, any initiative which helps them to bypass direct negotiations with us, without preconditions, and refer instead to international institutions, is certainly a danger to progress.”

The Foreign Minister concluded by speaking about the Iranian threat, and stated that France was aware of the Iranian activities and saw no progress in the agreements with Iran. The Foreign Minister stated that it was important French Minister 2for France to be involved in the process and had from the outset stood firm against the possibility of Iran achieving a nuclear weapon.  He added, “Of course we want to reach an agreement, but an agreement has to be firm, and we must be sure that we can check this at any moment. It is clear to us, that we need to be alert and aware on this issue. Israel is in the first line of people to be concerned by this, but it needs to be of concern to the whole region.”

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