French president, in West Bank, urges halt to Israeli settlements

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French President Francois Hollande and his companion Valerie trierweiler meet Palestinian personalities after a visit at the church of Saint Anne in Jerusalem's Old CityFrench President Francois Hollande called on Israel on Monday to halt settlement building on occupied territory, saying it hampered chances for a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

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Israel has announced plans for thousands of new settler homes since U.S.-brokered peace negotiations with the Palestinians began in July after a three-year break.

“For the sake of peace and to reach a deal, France calls for the total and definitive end to settlement building because it compromises the two-state solution,” Hollande said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian negotiators have offered to resign in protest against the settlement drive.

Abbas reaffirmed at the news conference that the talks with Israel would continue for the full nine-month period agreed with the U.S.

Hollande held talks on Sunday with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem.

He met Abbas in Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of government in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians seek to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, now under the control of Abbas’s Hamas Islamist rivals, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

They fear Israel’s settlements will deny them a viable country.

More than 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alongside 2.5 million Palestinians.

Israel cites historical and Biblical links to those areas.

Most countries consider the settlements Israel has built on land it captured in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal. (Reuters/NAN)

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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