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France says Trump's 'Deal of the Century' won't solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict Open in fullscreen

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France says Trump's 'Deal of the Century' won't solve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian is skeptical of the US approach to Middle East peace[AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2019

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, on a visit to Morocco, said the United States approach 'indicates' that its peace plan will not lead to both sides being happy.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has criticised the Trump administration's still-secret Middle East peace plan, calling it "an approach that cannot grant serenity".

Speaking Saturday during a visit to Morocco aimed at boosting diplomatic and economic relations between the countries, Le Drian reiterated France and the European Union's opposition to Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

He said this approach "indicates" the plan - whatever it is - will not lead to both sides being happy.

Le Drian's comments come weeks after President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner stopped in Morocco to seek King Mohammed VI's backing for the plan.

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said his country won't take an official position until the plan is revealed.

Annexation of the West Bank

The long-awaited plan spearheaded by his son-in-law Jared Kushner has already been rejected by the Palestinians, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased.

The US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Saturday that Israel has the right to annex at least "some" of the occupied West Bank, comments that could be seen as a new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support.

The establishment of a Palestinian state in territories, including the West Bank, that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967, has been the focus of all past Middle East peace plans.

No firm date has yet been set for the unveiling of the Trump administration's plan although a conference is to be held in Bahrain later this month on its economic aspects.

Public comments made by administration officials so far suggest the plan will lean heavily on substantial financial support for the Palestinian economy, much of it funded by the Gulf Arab states, in return for concessions on territory and statehood.

'Unworkable'

Meanwhile, publication of the plan looks set to be further delayed after the Israeli parliament called a snap general election for September, the second this year. The plan is regarded as too sensitive to release during the campaign.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the Trump administration's soon-to-be-released Middle East peace plan will be considered "unworkable," and might not gain traction.

Pompeo's remarks to a private meeting of Jewish leaders, first reported by The Washington Post, show that even the plan's own backers expect the latest United States blueprint for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be met with deep scepticism.

Another key broker in the peace process, the United Nations, says it will stay away from the Bahrain meeting.

In the remarks delivered Tuesday to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Pompeo acknowledged the plan's perceived favouritism to Israel but hoped it would nonetheless be given a fair hearing.

"I get why people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love," he said, according to the Post. "I understand the perception of that. I hope everyone will just give the space to listen and let it settle in a little bit."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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