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French minister says Paris meeting for Mideast peace needed

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The French government is planning to hold a conference at foreign minister level in Paris in May aimed at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

France will hold an worldwide conference in Paris on May 30 in a bid relaunch talks between Palestinians and Israelis by the end of the year, its foreign minister said in remarks published on Thursday.

“We are deliberating with worldwide parties and relevant Arab ministerial committee to examine the content and timing for proposing a Security Council resolution against settlement activity”, he said.

“The parties are further apart than ever”, Mr Ayrault said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Palestinians, took advantage of the presence of some 60 world leaders at the UN General Assembly to criticise Israel.

Since then, the stance of former foreign minister Laurent Fabius to recognize a Palestinian state automatically if the new initiative fails has been toned down.

The summit is set to be the run up to an global peace conference to be held in Paris this summer.

Israel and Palestine are not invited to the Paris meeting.

Back in 2011, the UN Security Council failed to adopt a similar resolution, which called for the condemnation of Israeli settlements.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, told reporters that the meeting with China’s Liu provided president Abbas “with significant information about the mood in the Security Council” for a new resolution.

“The Palestinian question is the alibi of all fanatics”, Mr Abbas told journalists in Paris.

Liu expressed hope “that we can do something substantive and concrete during our presidency” which ends on April 30.

The Palestinian Authority will delay its plan to obtain a UN Security Coucil resolution against Israeli settlement building in order to help promote a French initiative calling for a multi-lateral peace process beginning with an worldwide conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A war between Gaza militants and Israel later that year killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis, and there is no end in sight to the current round of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence that erupted last fall. The Palestinians say it springs from frustrations over almost half a century of Israeli occupation and failed peace efforts.

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