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France

Hollande, Netanyahu to honour Toulouse shooting victims

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Latest update : 2012-11-01

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and French President François Hollande will attend a memorial ceremony Thursday for the victims of a March shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President François Hollande will travel to Toulouse on Thursday to attend a memorial ceremony for three children and a French-Israeli teacher shot dead at a Jewish school in March by Mohammed Merah, who confessed that he was inspired by al Qaeda before being killed in a shootout with police.

"Netanyahu wants to send a message of solidarity with victims of terrorism -- both Jewish and non-Jewish," said an Israeli source involved in the Toulouse visit, adding: "He wants to emphasise the importance of unified international action against terrorism."

Sanctions against Iran took centre stage on Wednesday as Netanyahu arrived in France for his first meeting with the French leader since Hollande took office in May.

Speaking to reporters following a working lunch, Netanyahu reiterated his administration’s tough stance on Iran. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that a nuclear-armed Iran threatens the existence of the Jewish state and has refused to rule out military action, fuelling speculation that Israel is planning an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Iran denies accusations that it is seeking a weapons capability and says it has a right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

"I think it's important to delineate a red line for Iran", Netanyahu said (17/09).

Netanyahu called for “even tougher sanctions against Iran", saying: "The sanctions are taking a bite out of Iran's economy, but unfortunately they have not stopped the Iranian [nuclear] programme.”

Hollande, whose government wants to keep the door open for dialogue with Iran, told reporters that Tehran had not proved its claims that its nuclear programme was peaceful.

France, he said, was “ready to vote for other sanctions, as many as necessary”.
A source close to Netanyahu said the two leaders would also touch on ways to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, although Israel's continued settlement-building is a point of contention between the two men.

The Israeli premier last visited Paris in May 2011 in a bid to secure French support to undermine a Palestinian initiative to seek full membership at the United Nations. While this was his first meeting with Hollande, France’s new president has already welcomed Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Paris on two occasions since taking office in May.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)
 

Date created : 2012-11-01

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