France, Israel agree to deepen strategic partnership

by IANS |

Paris, Feb 3 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries and strengthen bilateral relationship in all areas, the Elysee said in a statement on Friday.

During a working dinner on Thursday night, Macron said Netanyahu choosing France as his first visit outside the Middle East since his appointment as Israeli Prime Minister shows the "closeness" between the two countries and the two people, Xinhua news agency reported citing the statement.

The two leaders hailed the quality of bilateral relations and exchanged views over issues of mutual concern, the Elysee noted.

According to the the statement, Macron expressed his concern about the current situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories, stressing the importance of avoiding any measure likely to fuel violence.

The French President also said that he is ready to contribute to the resumption of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians for a political process toward a solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of both sides.

In a separate statement, the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said the two leaders also discussed the need to maintain regional stability, especially in Lebanon, and opportunities to expand the circle of peace.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu also called for imposing significant sanctions on the Iranian regime and for the Revolutionary Guards to be included on the EU terrorism list" the PMO statement said.

While discussing "ways to confront the Iranian nuclear threat, Netanyahu stressed that deterrence with Iran and its proxies in the Middle East needs to be strengthened", it added.

In a tweet on Friday, Netanyahu said: "I met last night with French President Emmanuel Macron and we discussed in detail the ways to fight the Iranian nuclear threat. I emphasized the need to strengthen deterrence against Iran and its metastases in the Middle East, and said that significant sanctions must be imposed on the Iranian regime."

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