France puts off Israeli-Palestinian peace conference until January

France has postponed a planned international peace conference in Paris until January.

The meeting of foreign ministers was scheduled to take place Dec. 21 as a follow-up to a similar meeting held in June. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives were invited to the June meeting.

France hopes to gather the foreign ministers of up to 50 countries for the conference.

The June meeting ended with a final statement calling on the Palestinians and Israelis to demonstrate “a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust.” It also proposed an international conference to further talks by the end of the year.

Israel has dismissed the initiative as doomed because it does not involve direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande earlier this month that Israel would not attend the conference, but that he would be open to meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “for direct talks without preconditions” if France cancels the summit.

Hollande announced earlier this month that he would not run for re-election in 2017 elections. — jta