France has warned President-elect Donald Trump that his plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem could derail peace efforts in the Middle East.
Representatives from more than 70 countries and organisations have gathered in Paris for talks, with major powers also indicating to Trump that a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only solution.
Amongst those assembled in the French capital are key European and Arab states as well as the permanent members of the UN Security Council, in a meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected as “futile”.
Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will be represented.
But, just five days before Trump is sworn in, the conference provides a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the incoming American president.
Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel’s capital despite international objections.
Calling it a provocation, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the move would have serious consequences on the ground.
“One cannot have such a clear-cut, unilateral position. You have to create the conditions for peace,” he told France 3 television.
Paris has said the meeting will not impose anything on Israel or the Palestinians and that only direct negotiations can resolve the conflict.
— CNN (@CNN) January 10, 2017
A draft communique seen by Reuters reaffirms existing international resolutions, urges both sides to restate their commitment to the two-state solution and disavow officials who reject it.
The communique asks the protagonists to “refrain from unilateral steps that prejudge the outcome of final status negotiations”.
– John Irish and Lesley Wroughton