Orange aims to end ties with Israeli operator

The French telecoms group aims to end its ties with Israel operator Partner

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The chairman of Orange said Wednesday the French telecoms group aims to end its ties with Israel operator Partner, which has been criticized for its activities in the Palestinian territories.

At the end of May, five non-governmental organizations and two unions in France asked Orange to state publicly its willingness to sever its ties with Partner and denounce “attacks on human rights” they said the Israeli company had carried out.

They say Partner Communications Co has a license from Orange to use its brand.

The report claims that Partner, operating in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, was contributing to their economic viability and contributing to perpetuating a situation considered illegal by the international community.

When asked about this on Wednesday, Orange’s Stephane Richard said in Cairo that “our intention is to withdraw from Israel. It will take time” but “for sure we will do it”.

“I am ready to do this tomorrow morning... but without exposing Orange to huge risks.”

Orange has previously said it inherited the contract with Partner, in which it holds no shares or voting rights, and that it has no influence over the Israeli firm’s management and strategies.

Richard was speaking at a news conference held in connection with a visit to Orange’s nearly wholly owned Mobinil unit in Egypt.

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