Ashrawi holds a meeting with French diplomats

PNN/ Ramallah/

PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi today met with Deputy Director General for Middle East and North Africa at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ludovic Pouille and French Consul General Hervé Magro at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah.

The discussion focused on the latest political developments and multilateral efforts, including the French initiative to hold an international peace conference, as well as the outcome of the foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris on June 3 and the statement issued following the meeting.

Both parties reviewed the steps required to ensure the success of the French initiative, and Dr. Ashrawi stressed, “In order for the conference to be successful, it should be based on international law and conventions and include concrete terms of reference and objectives, a binding timeline and comprehensive mechanisms to end the military occupation, as well as measures for arbitration, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.”

Commenting on the possibility of establishing working groups prior to the international peace conference, Dr. Ashrawi said, “We do not see the need for any working groups that would preempt the political outcome; rather, groups should be established to guarantee the application of international law and work out the concrete steps for ending the occupation following the successful completion of the conference.”

In the meeting, Dr. Ashrawi referred to Israel’s attempts at subverting the conference and undermining its substance and goals:  “The Israeli government is employing a dangerous policy of blackmail and extortion in order to undermine multilateral efforts to ensure peace and stability in the region; Israel should not be given a free hand to defy international consensus, to commit violations of international law and human rights and to prevent the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

In response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of the Arab Peace Initiative, Dr. Ashrawi said, “Neither Palestine nor the Arab countries will accept any changes to the Arab Peace Initiative to accommodate the Israeli occupation.  Israeli insistence on bilateral negotiations is a way of continuing its unbridled use of power and coercion rather than achieving a just peace.  Only multilateral engagement and the willingness of the international community to undertake its own responsibilities will lead to ending the occupation and the enactment of the two-state solution.”

Both parties also discussed the internal rift and the prospects for reconciliation and elections in Palestine, as well as continued cooperation and issues of mutual concern.