Following talks yesterday in Paris, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande both called for strengthening sanctions against Iran in an attempt to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. The meeting was the first between the two leaders since Hollande took power in May. Speaking at a joint press conference following their meeting, both leaders stressed the importance of putting pressure on Iran.
Netanyahu said that he will “not sit by and write off a threat by those who say they are going to annihilate us.” Meanwhile Hollande commented, “We must make sure that through pressure and later through negotiations, Iran renounces its intention to have access to nuclear weapons.” Although Hollande said that the idea of military action against Tehran “is not the scenario that I am planning for today,” the French premier made a clear commitment to increasing measures against Iran. He said, “We are prepared to vote in favour of more sanctions, as many sanctions as necessary… It is our duty to put pressure on Iran and to call for more sanctions. We will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months.” France recently played a leading role in the European Union’s adoption of tighter measures against Iran.
Netanyahu and Hollande also discussed the possibility of resuming Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. The Israeli leader said that he was ready to open negotiations immediately, saying “President Hollande can invite [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas to the Elysee [French Presidential Palace]…I’m here, I’m ready… The only way we can complete the negotiations is to begin them.”
Meanwhile, Hollande criticised Palestinian attempts to upgrade the status of its United Nations (UN) delegation, to confer ‘non-member state’ status. He said, “There is the temptation of the Palestinian Authority to seek at the UN General Assembly that which it fails to obtain through negotiation…Only negotiation can lead to a definitive solution to the situation of Palestine.”