Media Statement

02 June 2016

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to participate in the Paris Middle East Peace Conference

The Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will on Friday, 3 June 2016, attend an international conference on the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) in Paris, France, at the invitation of the French Foreign Minister, Mr Jean Marc Ayrault.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will be joined by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, members of the Quartet, the Arab Quartet, and representatives of selected Asian countries to find a mechanism to resolve the Palestine-Israeli conflict.  In particular, the conference will seek to re-affirm the Two-State solution as the only viable solution to the conflict.

This conference is convened at a time when the Two-State solution is being threatened by the ever-expanding Jewish settlements in Palestinian lands, as well as increasing sporadic acts of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.  The conference is part of what has come to be known as the French Initiative on the MEPP, which seeks to re-kindle the Israel-Palestine dialogue which collapsed with the failure of John Kerry’s efforts in April 2014.  Since then, the tension between Israelis and Palestinians worsened with the outbreak of the Fifty-Day Gaza War in June-July 2014.

At the height of the 2014 Gaza War, President Jacob Zuma appointed former Minister Zola Skweyiya and former Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad as presidential special envoys on the Middle East Peace Process.  The two have since visited countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe to consult on how to revive the MEPP.  Last week, President Zuma held talks in Cape Town with President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine to discuss a range of issues associated with the MEPP.

The conference will be opened by the French President, Mr Francois Hollande, and will build on the ongoing international efforts in finding a settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on the two-state solution.

The multilateral and participative approach of the French Initiative is meant to complement the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, Madrid Principles, Arab Peace Plan, and the Quartet Roadmap as guiding principles to move ahead with the Middle East Peace Process.

The Ministerial Meeting on 03 June 2016 is intended to pave the way for a larger conference to include Palestine and Israel in the second semester of 2016.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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