Paris, May 5, 2009
This afternoon Bernard Kouchner had a meeting with Avigdor Liberman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel. This meeting, the first between the two ministers, provided the opportunity for an exchange of views on regional policy issues, in the framework of the strategic review currently being carried out by the new Israeli government, which took office on 1 April 2009.
Bernard Kouchner reiterated France’s expectations, particularly regarding the creation of a viable Palestinian State co-existing in peace and security with Israel. He stressed the urgent need to resume the process of negotiating to achieve this objective. He reiterated that 2009 had to be the year of peace, as President Sarkozy said on 2 March at the Sharm el Sheikh conference. This is in Israel’s interest and the only way of guaranteeing her long-term security, to which France is staunchly committed. To this end, France intends pursuing her trustful dialogue with Israel, in the interest of regional peace and stability.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs has asked for the complete halting of all settlement activities, including those related to "natural growth", in accordance with the roadmap, and recalled that there could be no military solution in Gaza and that there can be a lasting improvement to the humanitarian and economic situation only with the permanent opening of the crossing points.
The Ministers talked about the regional track of the peace process. Resumption of indirect talks between Syria and Israel is essential. France considers that Israel and the region’s long-term stability and security depends on the resumption of every track of the peace process.
Finally, the two Ministers discussed the Iranian nuclear issue and Bernard Kouchner listened carefully to the strong concerns voiced by Avigdor Liberman. He told his opposite number that France, with her E3+3 partners, was not sparing her efforts to get Iran to comply with her international obligations, particularly by suspending her sensitive nuclear activities./.