UPDATES WITH ELYSEE STATEMENT
By Aysar al-Iss and Hajer M'tiri
PARIS /RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday voiced readiness to resume peace talks with Israel, either behind closed doors or in public.
Speaking at a joint press conference in Paris with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Abbas said: “We’re ready for negotiations with Israel — either in public or behind closed doors — with the [Middle East] Quartet as sponsor.”
The so-called Middle East “Quartet” is comprised of the U.S., Russia, the UN and the EU.
“The Palestinians haven’t rejected negotiations,” Abbas asserted. “[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is the one who has derailed the peace process.”
Later in the day, French Presidency issued a statement on the meeting between the two leaders, noting the French leader reiterated that his country is attached to the two-states solution.
Macron "reiterated the full commitment of France to resume the thread of dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis and confirmed to President Abbas the willingness of France to mobilize on the diplomatic field to change the situation that is no longer tenable," according to the Elysee statement.
Recalling the strict Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, Macron emphasized "the need to do everything possible to improve the humanitarian situation.”
The leaders also discussed the ongoing talks, between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas under the auspices of Egypt, according to the statement.
Macron said France supports the talks to reach an intra-Palestinian reconciliation in a bid "to allow holding elections in the coming months" in Gaza, which is "an essential contribution to the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state".
He also "reiterated his attachment to the security of Israel and at the same time the condemnation by France of the policy of Israeli colonization, which has continued and accelerated in recent months".
Abbas arrived in Paris on Thursday at the invitation of Macron.
On Saturday, the Palestinian president will leave France for Ireland, before moving on to New York for a UN General Assembly meeting.
Palestine-Israel talks broke down in 2014, due largely to Israel’s refusal to stop building Jewish-only settlement units on confiscated Palestinian land.