“France is playing a key role in pushing the Middle East peace process forward, Palestinian resident Mahmoud Abbas stated.

He told reporters in a press conference in Paris together with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that peace in the Middle East is essential for world peace.

On his part, Olmert stated that all have to make hard and important decisions in order to achieve peace in the region. 

He also praised the US and France's role in pushing the peace talks with the Palestinians forward.  

 On the other hand, advisor to the Palestinian President Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Abbas will stress the need to stop settlement activities, during a meeting that Abbas will have with Olmert on Sunday.

Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank despite the various calls and agreements to stop it, putting all peace efforts in jeopardy.