Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany warn that annexation could harm relations with Israel

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Foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany on Tuesday voiced vehement opposition to Israel’s plan to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, warning that such a move could destabilize the region and affect bilateral relations with Jerusalem.”We agree that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would constitute a violation of international law and would jeopardize the foundations of the peace process. We would not recognize any change to the 1967 borders that was not accepted by both parties to the conflict, “said Sameh Shoukry, Ayman al-Safadi, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Heiko Maas in a statement released after discussing the issue. by videoconference. .

“We also agree that such a measure would have serious consequences for the security and stability of the region and would constitute a major obstacle to efforts to achieve a comprehensive and just peace. It could also have consequences for relations with Israel, ”they added.

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The statement marked the first time that Cairo has officially threatened that the annexation could affect relations with Jerusalem.

Shoukry spoke out against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to all strategically important settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. But Egypt has so far been particularly reserved in its public criticism of the proposed decision.

On the other hand, Jordan, France and Germany have all been saying for weeks that annexation cannot remain undisputed.

“We underscore our firm commitment to a negotiated two-state solution based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. We have discussed how to rekindle a successful engagement between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and offer our support to facilitate the path to negotiations, “concluded the joint statement.

The Hashemite Kingdom is perhaps the staunchest critic of Israel’s annexation plan, King Abdullah saying it would “lead to massive conflict” with his country.

Also on Tuesday, al-Safadi held a virtual meeting with senior officials from Oman, Kuwait, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, and the Secretary-General of the Arab League, to discuss “the latest developments in the Palestinian question. . “

Le Drian told French lawmakers last month that Paris would be prepared to consider punitive measures, particularly in the economic and commercial spheres, in response to an Israeli annexation.

Maas, who came to Jerusalem on June 10 to express Berlin’s “serious and honest concerns” about the annexation, has so far refrained from publicly discussing the sanctions, arguing that the time was not right come to threaten.

On Monday evening, Netanyahu met with his British counterpart Boris Johnson, reiterating his desire to “conduct negotiations on the basis of [US] President [Donald] Trump’s peace plan, which is both creative and realistic, and will not revert to the failed formulas of the past, “read to the office of Netanyahu.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen ties between their countries in all areas and in particular to deepen cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, the statement said.

According to a reading provided by number 10, Johnson “expressed concern” about an Israeli annexation and “warned that it would endanger the prospects for peace in the region”.

He also urged Netanyahu to resume negotiations with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu adopted the Trump plan, which was entirely rejected by the Palestinians.

The Prime Minister lobbied to move forward with a key aspect of the plan that allows Israel to extend its sovereignty to its West Bank and Jordan Valley settlements, which together account for about 30% of the West Bank territory. Under the US plan, the remaining 70% would be allocated to the Palestinians for a future state.

Although Netanyahu set July 1 as the target date for unilaterally applying sovereignty, he refrained from taking action amid widespread opposition within the international community and even in Washington, and among his political allies.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been moribund since 2014.

Contrary to the Trump plan, the Palestinians presented their own proposal last month and offered to resume direct negotiations on the basis of an Israeli withdrawal from the pre-1967 lines, with minor border adjustments.

Aaron Boxerman and Stuart Winer contributed to this report.



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