Friday, 12 Aug 2022 - 15 of Av, 5782

French President Macron to Israeli Prime Minister Lapid: ‘You can count on France’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security’

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‘’I would like to reiterate once again our determination to bring the negotiations on a return to compliance with the JCPOA as soon as possible. We agree with Israel that that this agreement will not be sufficient to contain Iran’s destabilizing activities, but I remain, more than ever, convinced that an Iran at the nuclear threshold would be able to carry out these activities in a more dangerous way,’’ the French president said.

Lapid referenced a Macron address in 2018, in which the French leader spoke about the need for a new deal with Iran shortly before the Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA. He called for “a deal that is more efficient and better defined, a deal with no expiration date, a deal with coordinated international pressure that would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

He added, ‘’The current situation cannot continue as it is.It will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would threaten world peace.’’

Lapid also warned Israel would not allow Hezbollah attacks to go unanswered.

Despite the hot and complex topics discussed by the two men, they displayed a closeness that did not go unnoticed.

“You know that you can count on France’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and our determination to remain committed to ensuring the stability and security of the entire region,’’ said French President Emmanuel Macron as he waermly welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid at the Elysée Palace in Paris.

Lapid made in France his first official trip  as Prime Minister.

‘’You also know that you can count on my determination to continue the fight against our common enemy, terrorism, which has again struck Israel hard in recent months,’’ Macron, who thanked Lapid for his visit,  added.

Despite the hot and complex topics discussed by the two men, they displayed a closeness that did not go unnoticed.

In a joint press statement with Lapid, Macron also spoke of Iran’s nuclear program and its regional activitirs ‘’among the many crises that affect Israel’s environment and that also involve French and European security interests.’’

‘’I would like to reiterate once again our determination to bring the negotiations on a return to compliance with the JCPOA as soon as possible. We agree with Israel that that this agreement will not be sufficient to contain Iran’s destabilizing activities, but I remain, more than ever, convinced that an Iran at the nuclear threshold would be able to carry out these activities in a more dangerous way,’’ the French president said.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the nuclear agreement signed by world powers with Iran in Vienna in 2015.

He added, ‘’ We must therefore defend this agreement, take into account the security interests of our friends in the region, Israel first and foremost, and complement it with even stronger negotiations on ballistic and and regional activities.’’

Macron also expressed his support for the normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab states which, he stressed ‘’ is making an important contribution to regional stability and security.’’

Picture by Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO).

But he added that this dynamic ‘’must also be accompanied by tangible progress towards a solution to the Palestinian question that

meets both Israel’s security interests and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.’’

In his remarks, Prime Minister Lapid noted that not only is France a leading country in Europe, but it is also one of the E3 countries, leading the negotiations with Iran on the nuclear deal.

‘’We may have disagreements about the content of the agreement, but we do not disagree on the facts. The is that Iran is violating the agreement and continues to develop its nuclear program.’’

‘’Iran is hiding information from the world, it is enriching uranium beyond the level it is allowed to, and it has removed cameras from its nuclear sites.’’

Lapid referenced a Macron address in 2018, in which the French leader spoke about the need for a new deal with Iran shortly before the Trump administration pulled out of the JCPOA. The premier called for “a deal that is more efficient and better defined, a deal with no expiration date, a deal with coordinated international pressure that would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

He added, ‘’The current situation cannot continue as it is.It will lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, which would threaten world peace.’’

Lapid also warned Israel would not allow Hezbollah attacks to go unanswered.

“Hezbollah has more than 100,000 rockets in Lebanon, aimed at Israel,” he said.“It tries to attack us with Iranian rockets and UAVs.”

“Israel will not sit back and do nothing, given these repeated attacks,” Lapid pledged.

Days after Israel intercepted Hezbollah UAVs heading for gas rigs off its coast, Lapid called Hezbollah “a terrorist organization that threatens Lebanon’s stability, violates its sovereignty, pushes it towards a dangerous escalation with Israel, and harms the national interests of Lebanon.”

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