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Middle East

Paris Middle East summit struggles to save two-state solution

media French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault đopens the Paris Middle East summit Reuters

Moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would have "extremely serious consequences", French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on the day of an international Middle East peace conference in Paris. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the meeting as "futile".

Opening the summit, Ayrault said its purpose was to "forcefully reiterate that the two-state solution is the only solution possible" to the seven-decade-old conflict.

Later he told France 3 TV that Donald Trump's pledge to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after he becomes president on 20 January was a "provocation" but doubted that he would be able to do so.

"When you are president of the United States [...] you can't have such an entrenched, unilteral position," he commented. "You have to seek to contribute to creating the conditions for peace."

Netanyahu slams summit

At Israel's weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu slammed the meeting as "futile".

"It was coordinated between the French and the Palestinians with the aim of imposing upon Israel conditions that are incompatible with our national needs," he told his ministers.

Apparently looking ahead to Trump's presidency, he said the conference as " among the last spasms of yesterday's world".

"Tomorrow will look different and tomorrow is very close," he said.

Three French Jewish groups called for a protest Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Paris to denounce the conference.

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