Human Rights

Macron hosts Netanyahu for talks on Gaza, Syria, Iran

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted talks Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, focusing on the crises in Gaza, Syria, Iran and the Middle East but also addressing bilateral cooperation, the two leaders said.

Speaking in a press conference, Macron expressed his “opposition to violence, in particular against civilians,” a reference to the shooting with live ammunition of over 100 Palestinian civilians on the Gaza-Israel border in the past weeks.

Macron also reiterated France’s position in favour of “a lasting and just agreement” between Israel and the Palestinians, an accord that would be based on a “two-state solution” and would allow the two “to live side-by-side in peace and security” and have “Jerusalem as capital of each.” But Macron also spoke in favour of Israel’s security, which he said was not negotiable, and he criticized “incitements to violence” and attacks called for by the Gaza Hamas leadership.

Yet he also urged a resolution to the very long and severe humanitarian crisis affecting the population of Gaza and he called on Netanyahu in this respect.

On Iran, Macron said that he favoured building on the current nuclear agreement with Iran for the period after 2025, when it expires, and he also said there must be progress on a framework to address Iran’s ballistic missile programmes and its influence in the region, which is viewed as destabilizing.

The Israeli prime minister said he had not asked Macron to leave the Iranian nuclear agreement, as the US has done, and he said “economics” would have an influence here.

The French leader also said he had “noted” statements by Iran about boosting its nuclear programme and the number of centrifuges it is operating for uranium enrichment.

He said this would have to be examined to see if it is “outside of the framework” agreed with Iran.

“There is a reciprocal rise in tensions. I invite everyone to stabilise the situation…and I want Iran to stay in the accord and address the other subjects” where there are “legitimate worries,” the French leader stated.

Macron also said that finding stability in Syria was essential to prevent other countries from being affected by this conflict and being destabilised.

Netanyahu, for his part, called for all Iranian forces to be removed from Syria and he blamed Iran for fomenting trouble in the region and with having hostile intentions against Israel.

Both leaders welcomed the exemplary level of cooperation on intelligence questions and the fight against terrorism and also praised the high level of scientific, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Source: Kuwait News Agency