Egypt calls for "serious action" on Palestinian issue

Saturday 26-03-2016 04:58 PM

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (L) and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri during a joint press conference in Cairo, on Mar. 9. 2016. Screengrab from Egyptian state television video

CAIRO, Mar 26 (Aswat Masriya) - Egypt underscored on Saturday the need for "serious action" on Palestine, as France leads efforts to revive peace talks.

France has recently been rallying international support to relaunch peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the procedures that will be implemented to revive the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides are yet to be decided, in statements made to state-run MENA news agency.

But Abu Zeid said Israeli procedures such as expanding settlement activity come in "contradiction" with trust-building procedures that should be implemented.

Citing a local monitor, Palestinian Ma'an news agency said last week that the Israeli Civil Administration aims to confiscate 1,200 dunams (296.5 acres) of land from Palestinian villages in Nablus district in the northern West Bank.

Abu Zeid said France is communicating with a number of countries with the aim of holding an international peace conference to tackle the issue.

France's proposal backs the two-state solution and France intends to invite the Palestinians and Israelis to talk to end what Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described as a "vicious circle", during a visit to Cairo earlier this month. 

Numerous international efforts have been made to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict but the two sides have not reached an agreement on several contentious points including the division of Jerusalem, home to holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

The last round of peace talks started in 2013, through an American-led initiative but they collapsed in April 2014, upon reaching a pre-planned deadline. 

Last January the former French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius said that France, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), will continue efforts to reach a two-state solution. Fabius said then that France "will recognise" Palestine's statehood in case peace efforts fail.

In 2012, the State of Palestine was granted non-member observer status at the United Nations General Assembly.

But the UNSC shot down a Palestinian statehood bid put forth in 2014. The bid called for an end of Israeli settlement activity and the recognition of Palestinian state on the borders of 1967. France was one of the eight nations that voted in favour of the Palestinian bid.

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