Abbas: It's illogical for US to block Palestinian statehood

France says recognizing Palestinian state is one of the options it's considering; PA president is in France to meet Sarkozy.

April 21, 2011 23:01
2 minute read.
Palestinian Flag

Palestinian Flag 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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PARIS - Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday it would "illogical" for the United States to block a Palestinian bid for statehood planned at the United Nations in September.

Abbas, in Paris for talks with French leaders, noted that Washington already backs the formula of a Palestinian state co-existing in peace alongside Israel to end the longstanding Middle East conflict.

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"In principle we have a lot of signs that the United States is ready to recognize the Palestinian state," he told France 24 television in an interview broadcast on Thursday. "If the United States is not ready it would not be coherent and logical."

Palestinian leaders will be seeking broad endorsement of statehood at the UN General Assembly. More than 100 nations have said they recognize Palestine as a state.

French Ambassador to the United Nations Gerard Araud told the Security Council on Thursday that "recognition of the state of Palestine is one of the options which France is considering, with its European partners, in a bid to re-launch the peace process," AFP reported.

But diplomats say the US government has reservations about unilateral steps towards Palestinian statehood and could hold up approval of full UN membership for Palestine that must come from the UN Security Council.

Abbas expressed optimism that the bid would receive broad support, despite a lack of concrete promises from abroad.

"But all signals from these states and organizations show they are waiting for the right time to recognize the Palestinian state," he said. "We are also waiting for the right time."

Abbas has said he will not resume the talks until all West Bank settlement construction in the West Bank is suspended.

"We have gone beyond that because we think that question should not hold up dialogue with the United States," he said.

After meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Abbas told journalists that he had not raised the issue of Palestinian statehood with the president -- adding that France's position was clear.

A source in the presidential office said that Sarkozy had given Abbas his "clear support" for efforts leading to the creation of a Palestinian state. Fillon said last month that 2011 "should be the year when a Palestinian state is created."

Abbas warned about consequences in the Palestinian territories if the United Nations rejected the statehood appeal.

"I don't know what the next step would be but maybe it would be difficult, maybe dangerous ...A third intifada (Palestinian uprising) is not my preference," he said.

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