Sarkozy advocates Palestinian observer status at UN

UN General Assembly: French president demands “intermediate” stage offering Palestinians observer state status, “precise timetable” for talks.

By JORDANA HORN JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 22, 2011 03:58
3 minute read.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy

Sarkozy mad 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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NEW YORK – In his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy demanded a “precise timetable” for Israeli- Palestinian peacemaking and an “intermediate” stage offering the Palestinians observer state status.

“One month to resume discussions, six months to find an agreement on borders and security, one year to reach a definitive agreement,” Sarkozy said of the timeline he foresees, adding that France proposes hosting a donors conference to facilitate Palestinian attainment of a state.

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“Let us stop believing that a single country or a small group of countries can resolve so complex a problem,” he said, apparently alluding to the efforts of the Middle East Quartet.

“Too many crucial players have been sidelined for our efforts to succeed.

“Who still believes that the peace process can succeed without Europe? Who still believes that it can succeed without the involvement of all the permanent members of the Security Council?” Sarkozy asked.

Saying that “we can no longer wait to take the path of peace,” he said the demand for a Palestinian state is legitimate, and that “a democratic, viable and peaceful Palestinian state would be, for Israel, the best guarantee of its security.

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“Put yourself in the place of the Israelis,” Sarkozy continued.

“Is not their demand for guarantees of this longed-for peace legitimate after 60 years of war and terrorist outrages? Of course it is! And I make this strong commitment: If anyone were to threaten the existence of Israel, France would immediately and wholeheartedly stand alongside it.

“Threats made against a member state of the United Nations are unacceptable,” he said.

He added that member states face “a very difficult choice.”

“Each of us knows that Palestine cannot immediately obtain full and complete recognition of the status of United Nations member state,” Sarkozy said. “But who could doubt that a veto at the Security Council risks engendering a cycle of violence in the Middle East?” Calling observer status an “intermediate stage,” the French president said it would be an important step forward.

“To embody their determined commitment in favor of a negotiated peace, the Palestinian authorities must, in the framework of this approach, reaffirm Israel’s right to exist and security,” Sarkozy said. “Furthermore, they could commit to avoid using this new status to undertake actions incompatible with the continuance of negotiations.”

“In parallel,” he continued, “Israel must observe the same restraint – it must abstain from any actions that would prejudice the final status.”

Unlike US President Barack Obama in his speech at the same venue, Sarkozy referenced the pre-Six Day War armistice lines.

“The ultimate goal of peace negotiations must be mutual recognition of two nation states for two peoples, established on the basis of the 1967 lines, with agreed and equivalent exchanges of land,” he said.

Sarkozy underscored the ideal of empathy in closing his remarks.

“I say this with deep and sincere friendship for the Palestinian people – think of the Israeli mothers grieving for their children killed in terrorist outrages.

They feel the same pain as the Palestinian mothers confronted with the brutal death of one of their family. I say this with deep and sincere friendship for the Israeli people – listen to what the young people of the Arab Spring are saying: ‘Long live freedom!’ They are not crying ‘Death to Israel.’”

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