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France tells Israeli minister peace process urgent

 Members of pro-Palestinian groups hold placards during a protest near the Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister ...
  Israeli Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, is welcomed by his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay...
 Israeli Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, shakes hands with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, prior to their meeting at Quai d'Orsay  ...
 A member of pro-Palestinian group holds a placard during a protest near the Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Ministe...
 Members of pro-Palestinian groups gather near the French Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman...

FRANCE ISRAEL

Members of pro-Palestinian groups hold placards during a protest near the Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister ...

CORRECTION FRANCE ISRAEL PALESTINE

Israeli Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, is welcomed by his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, prior to their meeting at the Quai d'Orsay...

CORRECTION FRANCE ISRAEL PALESTINE

Israeli Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, shakes hands with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner, prior to their meeting at Quai d'Orsay ...

FRANCE ISRAEL

A member of pro-Palestinian group holds a placard during a protest near the Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Ministe...

FRANCE ISRAEL

Members of pro-Palestinian groups gather near the French Foreign Ministry in Paris to protest the visit of Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman...

France told Israel's new foreign minister Tuesday that restarting Mideast peace talks is urgent and that building new Israeli settlements must end, the French Foreign Ministry said.
Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner gave that message to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman while meeting him on his first tour of Europe since the new Israeli government took office on April 1 and began devising its strategies for the region.
Kouchner "recalled the expectations of France, in particular the creation of a viable Palestinian state coexisting in peace and security with Israel," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the talks. He also "asked for a complete halt to colonization (building settlements)," the statement said.
France also stressed the need for a permanent reopening to passages to the Gaza Strip to ease the economic and humanitarian situation there.
Lieberman made no comments after the meeting, and journalists were asked to leave the ministry.
Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted Lieberman's motorcade as he was entering the ministry. The right-wing politician has frayed some diplomatic nerves with his anti-Arab statements.
An Associated Press Television News cameraman on the scene said two demonstrators dressed as tourists blocked the street just as Lieberman's motorcade was pulling onto ministry grounds. Riot police were seen detaining two people and chasing others away from the ministry.
About 100 other protesters, some brandishing an enormous Palestinian flag, gathered on the verdant lawns of the Esplanade des Invalides, across the street from the ministry.
Iran, seen by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a real threat to Israel and a top priority, also was discussed during the meeting between Lieberman and Kouchner, who explained that France and its partners were doing all they can to get Tehran to suspend its nuclear program.
The new Israeli government has latched on to the general fear that Tehran will use its nuclear prowess to construct nuclear arms. Iran denies that is its intention.
Lieberman arrived in Paris from Rome, where he met with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Monday.
In Italy, the first leg of his European tour, Lieberman stressed that the new Israeli government was still developing its foreign policy, which Netanyahu is expected to unveil before talks with President Barack Obama in mid-May.
During his two-day visit to France, Lieberman was expected to meet with a top aide to President Nicolas Sarkozy and representatives of the main Jewish organization here and to visit a Holocaust memorial museum.
After France, he goes to Prague, where the Czechs hold the EU presidency, and to Berlin.


Updated : 2020-12-01 14:24 GMT+08:00