French PM cancels Israel trip

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has canceled a planned trip to Israel early next month, citing “domestic agenda” issues, his office said today.

French prime minister Edouard Philippe has dropped the French bid for Expo 2025. Charles Platiau/APPhilippe had been expected to visit Jerusalem on June 1 for an event promoting ties between France and Israel along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He was also planning a trip to Tel Aviv and the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Aides to Philippe pointed to looming strikes in France at the beginning of June and the government’s packed reform agenda, as well as his decision to cancel a trip to Mali in April.

But the decision comes at a particularly tense time in the Middle East, with France among the countries condemning a spate of bloodshed along the Gaza border where Israeli forces killed scores of Palestinian protesters in recent weeks.

It also comes as French President Emmanuel Macron scrambles to keep a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran afloat after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord.

Netanyahu staunchly opposes the international agreement, which curbs Iran’s nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.

Further complicating a visit by Philippe to the region is the health of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, 83.

Abbas was admitted to hospital at the weekend with pneumonia. There is no information yet on when he might be discharged.

His health is the subject of regular speculation, with no clear successor identified.


Adriana Murolo

The Kootneeti Team - European Watch

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