France ‘op­posed’ to Is­rael boy­cott, For­eign Min­is­ter Fabius says amid spat with Or­ange

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

France’s for­eign min­is­ter on Fri­day said Paris was “firmly op­posed” to any boy­cott of Is­rael as a row rages over tele­com group Or­ange’s de­ci­sion to with­draw its brand from the Jewish state.

“Although it is for the pres­i­dent of the Or­ange group to de­ter­mine the com­mer­cial strat­egy of the com­pany, France is firmly op­posed to a boy­cott of Is­rael,” Lau­rent Fabius said in a state­ment.

“Also, France and the Euro­pean Union have a con­sis­tent pol­icy on set­tle­ment-build­ing that is known to all,” added Fabius.

Or­ange, which is partly con­trolled by the French gov­ern­ment, has in­sisted that its de­ci­sion to end its brand- li­cens­ing agree­ment with Part­ner, Is­rael’s sec­ond largest mo­bile op­er­a­tor, was not po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

But the de­ci­sion to axe ties has un­leashed a firestorm of crit­i­cism, with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu say­ing the com­pany’s de­ci­sion was “mis­er­able.”

“I call on the French gov­ern­ment to pub­licly re­nounce the mis­er­able re­marks and the mis­er­able ac­tion of a com­pany that is un­der its par­tial own­er­ship,” Ne­tanyahu said af­ter Or­ange’s an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day.

“I call on our friends to un­con­di­tion­ally de­clare — in a loud and clear voice — that they op­pose any kind of boy­cott of the state of the Jews,” he added.

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