JERUSALEM, June 21 (UPI) -- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday in an effort to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Fabius previously met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. France is attempting to pass a U.N. Security Council resolution that would create an 18-month timetable for talks that could grant sovereignty to Palestine, but Israel has its own security concerns: Palestine must be demilitarized; a buildup of weapons removed and no militant activity should be carried out.
"France is one of several countries that will not give up in this situation... out of friendship with the Palestinians and with the Israelis," Fabius said on the matter after he met with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman before arriving in Israel. "The first order of business during this visit is to identify how we can contribute to restarting peace talks."
Netanyahu downplayed Fabius' efforts.
"The way to reach agreements is only through bilateral negotiations, and we strongly reject attempts to force international [decrees] on us in regard to both security and peace," Netanyahu said. "Peace will be achieved only through direct negotiations between the parties that will take into account our national security."
Fabius will also meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, along with other foreign ministers, on Monday. The deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran ends June 30.