May Israel-Palestine conference in France postponed
A conference on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, due to be held on May 30 in Paris, has been postponed, French President Francois Hollande said Tuesday, May 17, according to AFP.
“(U.S. Secretary of State) John Kerry cannot come on May 30 so it has been delayed. It will take place in the summer,” he told French radio.
Hollande said it was vital for France to take “a strong initiative” in the dispute.
“If not… what will happen? Settlement building, attacks,” he said.
The original date for the conference falls on the U.S. Memorial Day holiday honoring members of the armed forces who died in combat, AFP says.
“We’re in discussions right now with the French about any possible alternative date that might better work for the secretary,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday, though he added that Kerry’s agenda was currently “jammed”.
“We are going to work with all the actors, the big countries and neighboring nations, to create the parameters that will allow the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table,” Hollande said, according to AFP.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Twitter that Hollande’s announcement of the delay was “further evidence of the failure of the (peace settlement) option and the project of (Palestinian president) Mahmud Abbas.”