French President Wants “In” on the Mideast Peace Process
France’s new president has apparently brought to office the same desire that his predecessor had to become a player in the Middle East peace process. Former President Hollande expended energy and political prestige to create an international peace conference to pick up the slack when the mission of former US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts crashed in 2014. Hollande’s efforts, too, failed to find traction, but that has apparently not deterred President Emmanuel Macron from diving in head first. On Tuesday, the new president told a meeting of France’s ambassadors that he will visit the region this spring, repeating the diplomatic mantra of a two-state solution albeit with an embrace of a key Palestinian demand – a capital in Jerusalem — that the Israelis insist must be negotiated. He declared that, “We will continue our efforts with the United Nations to find a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine, living safely side-by-side within borders recognized by the international community, with Jerusalem at the capital of both states.” Macron also wants to host a French-sponsored peace conference, but not aimed at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, he told reporters, the parley will focus on how terrorism is being financed. He also distanced himself from President Trump’s dismissal of the Iranian nuclear deal, asserting his support for the agreement.