France calls for two-year deadline on Mideast conflict
Fabius says if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not resolved within the two-year deadline, France will recognize Palestine as state
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called for a two-year time table to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as the French parliament debated whether to recognize the Palestinian state.
“France will recognize a Palestinian state,” Fabius told the lawmakers, but the question is “when, and how.”
“At the United Nations, we are working with our partners to adopt a Security Council resolution to relaunch and conclude talks. A deadline of two years is the one most often mentioned and the French government can agree with this figure,” Fabius said.
The Palestinians are planning to formally submit to the U.N. Security Council a draft resolution calling for an Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territory in 2016.
Fabius said that France was prepared to host international talks in a bid to push forward a drive for peace.
“An international conference could be organized, France is prepared to take the initiative on this and in these talks, recognition (of the Palestinian state) would be an instrument ... for the definitive resolution of the conflict,” he said.
Fabius did not specify when this conference, also mentioned late Thursday by French President Francois Hollande, might take place, nor did he say who might be invited.
Nevertheless, he said France hoped to bring together all the main players in the conflict, citing the European Union, the Arab League and all the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
“If these efforts fail. If this last attempt at a negotiated settlement does not work, then France will have to do its duty and recognize the state of Palestine without delay and we are ready to do that,” stressed Fabius.
Many in Europe are frustrated with the deadlock in peace talks, and with the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza and in supporting the growth of Jewish settlements.
On Oct. 30, Sweden’s government became the first Western European nation in the EU to recognize Palestinian statehood. Since then, lawmakers in Britain, Spain and Ireland have approved non-binding motions urging recognition, and the European Parliament debated the issue this week.
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