France, U.N. anxious over Middle East peace
Regional-France, International, 5/13/1998
French President Jacques Chirac and the U.N. chief Kofi Annan have expressed great concern over the stumbled Middle East peace process, especially over the Israeli government's rejection of the U.S.proposal for the second phase of redeployment.
In a statement he made following his meeting with President Chirac, Annan said the Middle East issue has taken the biggest part of his talks with President Chirac, "And we were considerably concerned about the situation in the Middle East."
Spokeswoman for the French Presidential palace said the French President and U.N. chief also discussed the Syrian and Lebanese tracks, noting that President Chirac had reiterated his country's stand on the implementation of U.N. resolution 425 (calling for Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon) and signing a comprehensive peace agreement. President Chirac asserted that peace should be comprehensive in order to be lasting and has to cover all peace process tracks, the spokeswoman added. She continued that Annan expressed, during the meeting with Chirac, a similar view and "underlined that the situation in the region is very critical."
Following a meeting between President Chirac and the European Union envoy to the Middle East peace process, Angel Moratinos, held on Tuesday, the French spokeswoman said talks focused on Israeli - Palestinian talks and the Syrian-Lebanese track.
Moratinos told reporters that the Birmingham industrial summit will issue a joint statement on the Middle East peace process. He called on the world's countries and world public opinion to demand a break in the peace process's current stalemate, because "this cannot go on forever." He continued, " We must be very cautious towards resolutions 425, and France may play an important role to this end."
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