Representatives from approximately 70 countries will gather in France on January 15 for a conference to throw the international community’s weight behind a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, French officials said Thursday. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians will be present at the meeting, but France intends to invite Palestinian

Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Paris some time afterward to brief them on the outcome of the talks, the foreign ministry said. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, currently visiting the Lebanese capital Beirut, said he hoped the meeting would “relaunch” the peace process and “re-affirm the necessity of having two states.” Netanyahu rejected a French proposal earlier this month to meet Abbas in Paris. READ MORE