Middle East

Britain has ‘reservations’ about Paris Middle East peace talks

Britain said on Sunday it had reservations about the outcome of a Middle East peace conference in Paris, saying it risked "hardening positions".

"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them  – indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis – and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the U.S. will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement," a Foreign Office statement said.

"There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace."

Britain had observer status at the conference. It did not back the final communique by 70 countries, which reaffirmed that only a two-state solution could resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and warned they would not recognise any unilateral steps by either side that could prejudge negotiations.

London last month scolded US Secretary of State John Kerry for describing the Israeli government as the most right-wing in Israeli history, a move that aligned Prime Minister Theresa May more closely with President-elect Donald Trump.

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