As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to sit down with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at any time, the PA announced that it would continue its tour of UNSC-member countries, with Abbas reportedly headed to France following his visit in Colombia.

Abbas will meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris this week to discuss the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition at the UN, PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki said on Tuesday according to AFP .

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The PA foreign minister said that the Palestinian leadership would meet with Sarkozy because France is "also permanent member of the Security Council."

According to the AFP report, Abbas would depart for Paris following his meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.


PA negotiator Nabil Shaath on Monday expressed optimism that the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations Security Council would receive the backing of nine countries, which would allow the resolution to pass if it is not vetoed by any permanent member of the Security Council.

Shaath told Ma'an News Agency on Monday that the nine countries include Gabon, Nigeria, Bosnia, Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa, China and Russia.

The US has said it would veto the resolution on Palestine at the Security Council, a fact that Sarkozy has publicly acknowledged.

The French president has said he supports granting the Palestinian "observer status" at the UN, and sees this step as both intermediate and important for a broader peace plan he announced at the UN General Assembly last month.
Sarkozy has also called for Palestinians and Israelis to return to the negotiating table.

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