France Withdraws Peace Conference Ultimatum

YERUSHALAYIM -
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the ministry in Paris. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)
French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the ministry in Paris. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

France has withdrawn its ultimatum to recognize a Palestinian state if its proposal to host an international Mideast peace conference is not adopted, the AFP reported on Wednesday.

France will not “automatically” recognize a Palestinian state if the Paris initiative fails, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said.

His predecessor, Laurent Fabius, provoked Israeli anger in January with his peace-talks-or-else statement.

But speaking on Wednesday, Ayrault struck a more conciliatory tone.

“There is never anything automatic,” Ayrault said. “France will present its initiative to its partners. It will be the first step, there is no pre-requisite.” The Foreign Minister presented a far softer tone on the issue than his predecessor, limiting the scope of the French initiative.

“What we want, and that is our commitment, is to resume the negotiation process,” he said.