1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Summit urges two-state solution in Mideast

January 15, 2017

Dozens of countries have urged Palestinians and Israelis to commit to a two-state solution. France also warned US President-elect Donald Trump against moving the US embassy to contested Jerusalem.

Paris Nahost Konferenz
Image: Reuters/B. Guay

More than 70 countries called on Israel and Palestinians to reconfirm their commitment to a peace settlement in a final statement at the end of a Middle East peace conference in Paris on Sunday.

The closing statement of the Paris summit urged both sides to "officially restate their commitment to the two-state solution" and distance themselves from voices that reject that solution.

The nations also warned that they would not recognize any unilateral steps taken by either side to compromise final negotiations on issues including borders, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

The resolution did not explicitly refer to US President-elect Donald Trump or his incoming administration, but it did say that a new conference would be held by the end of the year for interested parties. Trump previously announced that the US plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognize the officially divided city as the capital of Israel.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault added that the basis for negotiation was a return to the borders of 1967 and a recognition of major resolutions passed at the United Nations.

Israel and Palestine respond

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) welcomed the closing statement of the Paris summit, "which stressed the need to end the Israeli occupation."

Israel, on the other hand, said the conference was a "useless" event.

 "International conferences and UN resolutions only distance peace (prospects) since they encourage the Palestinians to continue to refuse direct talks with Israel," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Neither Israeli nor Palestinian representatives attended the Paris summit, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slamming the meeting as "rigged" against his country. 

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the outcome in the coming weeks. Netanyahu declined a similar offer.

Frankreich Demonstration bei Nahost-Konferenz in Paris
Pro-Israeli demonstrators gathered in Paris to oppose the peace meetingImage: Getty Images/AFP/P. Constant

UK refuses to sign

One major world power was noticeably absent from the summit's closing statement - Great Britain. A statement from the Foreign Office said it refused to sign the  the joint statement, saying it had "particular reservations" about the Paris meeting.

"There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace," the statement read. 

British reservations included the lack of Israeli and Palestinian representatives and the timing of the summit, which occurred "just days before the transition to a new American president." The Paris summit comes five days before Trump is sworn in as the next US president.

The UK's refusal to sign or to send a high-level delegation to the Paris summit was widely viewed as a sign of London's determination to stay close to Trump's incoming administration.

Frankreich Sorge vor Trump und Aufruf zu Zwei-Staaten-Lösung bei Nahost-Konferenz in Paris
Both Hollande (R) and Ayrault (L) warned actions taken by Trump's administration could threaten the two-state solutionImage: Getty Images/AFP/B. Guay

Steinmeier: 'Risk of new escalations'

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that should Trump move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, he would "risk new escalations" in the Middle East.

"This must be avoided, and at the least this conference can make a contribution in which all those who are interested in a lasting peace in the Middle East acknowledge and express that the two-state solution is the only way forward," Steinmeier said.

Diplomats also fear that Trump will condone settlements on land claimed by Palestinians. Sunday's conference also follows a UN resolution last month which decried Israel's efforts to expand its settlement of occupied territories in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Palestinian and Israeli leaders have not negotiated - even indirectly - with one another since a failed US-led peace effort in 2014.

rs/tj  (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters, KNA)

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

A bombed out building in Mariupol
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage