Israel has formally notified France that it will not participate in a peace conference later this year that Paris had hoped might rejuvenate moribund talks with Palestinians over a two-state solution.
Rejecting the initiative, Israel cited the talks as a distraction from the goal of direct negotiations with the Palestinians – despite the fact there have been no such negotiations since the collapse of the US-mediated peace process in 2014.
Israel had long indicated it had no intention of participating in the conference. The formal rejection was delivered at a meeting in Jerusalem with the French envoy Pierre Vimont.
“[They] told the French envoy in a clear and unequivocal manner that Israel’s position to promote the peace process and reach an agreement will only come through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” said a statement from the office of the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
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