France: Israel and Palestinians need 'agreed solution'

Only a consensus from negotiations will change the status quo, says French FM; comment significant in build up to September UN vote.

May 31, 2011 00:43
2 minute read.
Alain Juppe

Alain Juppe (R) 311. (photo credit: Regis Duvignau / Reuters)


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An agreed upon solution between Israel and the Palestinians is the only one that will put an end to the status quo, the French Embassy said in a statement released on Monday announcing the visit to the region of French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé.

That comment is significant in light of Israeli efforts to convince the Europeans that supporting Palestinian statehood at the UN in September would be counterproductive.

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This issue is expected to be a main focus of Juppé’s talks here – his first as foreign minister – with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Juppé will arrive on Wednesday evening from Rome, where he is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and during his two-day stay here is also scheduled to meet in Ramallah with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Unlike Germany and Italy, which have said they would not support a PA move to the UN in September, France and Britain have signaled they may support this bid.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview earlier this month with the weekly magazine L’Express that “if the peace process is still dead in September, France will face up to its responsibilities on the central question of recognition of a Palestinian state.”


Sarkozy said that “the idea that there is still plenty of time is dangerous, we must finish.”

According to the embassy statement, Juppé will stress to his interlocutors “the urgency of creating a constructive dialogue between the two sides to reach an agreed upon solution, the only one that has the ability to put an end to the current status quo.

“Peace has tarried for too long, at a time when the parameters are known to everyone,” the statement read.

With it becoming increasingly likely that the US will veto any Palestinian statehood resolution in the UN Security Council, the only real question is whether the world’s democracies – and not only the Islamic and developing countries that make up the Palestinian’s automatic majority in the UN – will support a statehood resolution in the General Assembly and thereby give the move a degree of moral legitimacy.

Recognizing the importance of the European voice in this matter, both Israel and the Palestinians are busy lobbying the various European governments. Israeli officials have said that it is likely the EU will not vote as a block on this matter, and – as was the case when the General Assembly voted on the Goldstone Commission report in 2009 – some will vote with Israel, some will vote against, and others will abstain.

Perhaps an indication of how the votes will fall in the General Assembly in September, in the Goldstone Report vote, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia were the EU countries that voted for Israel. The EU states voting against Israel were Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Portugal and Slovenia. And those abstaining were Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

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