French PM: Palestinian state must be created in 2011

Peace process should not be forgotten during time of unrest in Arab states, Fillon says; "negotiations must be restarted without delay."

France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon 311(R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon 311(R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lukas Barth/Pool)
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process should not be forgotten even while there is unrest taking place in Arab countries and 2011 must be the year that a Palestinian state is created, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday.
The people of the region "are also concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which must not be forgotten while Arab political transition is taking place," he told the National Assembly in a debate on armed intervention in Libya.
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"The peace process must be restarted without delay," he said, adding that "2011 must also be the year of the creation of a Palestinian state."
The statements come after French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said last week that France will not recognize a Palestinian state on its own, but the possibility of the entire European Union doing so "should be kept in mind."
Speaking to his parliament's foreign affairs committee, the French foreign minister said: "There's no point recognizing the Palestinian state on our own. It must be done together," AFP reported.
"Personally we're not there yet," he said, but added, "I think that it's a possibility that should be kept in mind."
Earlier this month, Britain announced that it was upgrading the status of the Palestinian Authority's delegation in London, although that too fell short of recognition.