France Finds U.S. Position on Mideast ‘Confused and Worrying’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is greeted as he arrives at the opening session of the G20 foreign ministers at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany on Thursday. (Reuters/Brendan Smialowski/Pool)

BONN, Germany (Reuters) - France considers the U.S. position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “confused and worrying,” its foreign minister said on Thursday, reacting to President Trump’s dropping of the U.S. commitment to a two-state solution.

Jean-Marc Ayrault met Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s at a G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bonn where, he said, he got some reassurance about Washington’s stance on Russia, but little on the Middle East.

“I wanted to remind him after the meeting between President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that in France’s view there are no other options other than the perspective of a two-state solution and that the other option which Mr Tillerson brought up was not realistic, fair or balanced.”

He did not specify what other option Tillerson had proposed.

On Russia, Ayrault said he was happy to hear Tillerson say that sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine would only be lifted if there was progress on the Minsk agreements to end fighting in east Ukraine.

“I found that there was a bit more precision even if I found that on the Israeli-Palestinian dossier, it was very confused and worrying,” Ayrault told reporters.

There was a clear difference in opinion between the two allies on the Iranian nuclear deal, with the United States wanting to review it from scratch.

Ayrault said he would see Tillerson in Washington next month at a meeting on fighting Islamic State.