Monday, 27 Mar 2023 - 5 of Nisan, 5783

Netanyahu in Paris: ‘I had an excellent meeting with the French President’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Friday with French Jewish community leaders in the framework of his 3-day visit in Paris during which he had a long meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Netanyahu updated the Jewish leaders on what he discribed as an ‘’excellent meeting’’ with President Macron. He noted that it was their best meeting ever. He added that they had discussed Iran, Saudi Arabia and Africa and said that while their positions were not identical, they were getting closer.

Netanyahu also mentioned that earlier on Friday he met with French businesspeople, who had expressed their confidence in the Israeli economy. He added that Israel was very strong on the global economic map.

The Jewish community leaders thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his leadership of Israel.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Israeli Prime Minister told the Jewish community leaders that while every Jewish man and woman in the world was entitled to decide their own future, it needed to be known that if they want to make aliyah to the State of Israel, ‘’they would be welcomed with open arms and a red carpet.’’

France willing to sanction the IRGC

According to Netanyahu, French President Macron expressed willingness to consider sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Netanyahu, who arrived in Paris on Thursday night and held a three-hour meeting with Macron, said there is a “very big rapprochement” between Israel and France “in the way we see the Iranian threat.”

“The conversation was very good. We talked about concrete things. He (Macron) expressed willingness to consider the imposition of sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards,” Netanyahu said.

The European Union has decided to take sanctions against several senior officials of the IRGC for their role in the répression of the demonstrations in the country but failed short so far to list the Iranian group as a terrorist entity as urged in a resolution of the European Parliament.

“I must say that the concern is shared, the assessment of the nature of the regime is shared. It’s a rapprochement,” Netanyahu said, adding that just several years ago, he was “almost alone” in voicing concern about the danger of the Iranian regime “ not only to Israel, not only to the [United States], but also to Europe.”

The two leaders also discussed the rising tensions with the Palestinians. 

“I said my policy is twofold. On the one hand, to take firm measures, focused on the epicenters of terrorism, whether it is Hamas or Islamic Jihad, they are currently deterred, but also against individual terrorism by targeted action around the immediate circle closest to them and not by collective punishment… On the other hand, also prevent escalation as much as possible,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli Prime Minister vowed to promote regional peace, sharing with Macron his views on the possible normalization with Saudi Arabia.

“I said it was a possibility, but of course, it depends on the Saudis. We clearly believe that this thing can bring huge, historical changes,” Netanyahu said, adding that the recent opening of Chad’s embassy in Israel and the stabilization of Lebanon were also discussed.

What said the Elysée, the French Presidential palace on the working dinner between the two leaders? 

President Macron said he was delighted that Netanyahu chose France to make his first visit outside the Middle East since his appointment as Prime Minister. He stressed that this choice testified, if any were needed, to the closeness between our two countries and our two peoples.

”The President of the Republic and the Israeli Prime Minister welcomed the quality and exceptional nature of the ties that unite France and Israel. They exchanged views, in confidence, on the challenges facing our two countries and on the many aspects of our bilateral relationship,” the Elysée said. in a statement.

Macron expressed to the Israeli Prime Minister France’s full solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism, particularly after the despicable attack that claimed seven Israeli victims near a synagogue in Jerusalem last Friday.

The French president also expressed his concern about the current situation in the Palestinian Territories and in Israel. ”He reiterated the importance of avoiding any measure that could fuel the spiral of violence that has already claimed too many innocent victims among Palestinian and Israeli civilians,” the presidential palace said.

Macron also recalled France’s attachment to the historic status quo of the Holy Places in Jerusalem, as well as its ”firm opposition to the continuation of colonization, which undermines the prospect of a future Palestinian state, as well as Israel’s hopes for peace and security.”

”The President of the Republic welcomed the normalization of relations between Israel and several states in the region, which contributes to stability and security. He recalled that this dynamic will remain incomplete as long as it is not accompanied by a resumption of a political process towards a solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis. He expressed his readiness to contribute to a resumption of dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

According to the Elysée, the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program. Macron reiterated the need for firmness in the face of Iran’s headlong rush to action, which would inevitably have consequences if it were to continue, and of Iran’s lack of transparency towards the International Atomic Energy Agency.

”The two leaders also expressed strong concern over Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the region. The President recalled that Iran’s support for Russian aggression in Ukraine exposes Iran to sanctions and increasing isolation,”

The two leaders also decided to work together on this issue and on their ”respective efforts and willingness to cooperate closely to address the consequences of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine on the international stage.”

”They also expressed their desire to deepen the strategic partnership between our two countries and to strengthen bilateral relations in all areas. The Head of State reiterated France’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” the statement concluded.



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