French FM Kouchner to Abbas: Don't step down

French FM Kouchner to Ab

France's foreign minister, who will visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the coming days, urged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to step down, it was reported Tuesday. Bernard Kouchner said "first of all, the Palestinian president must not resign." Abbas announced last week that he would not run for another term in an election scheduled for January, citing deadlocked efforts to revive peace talks with Israel. Kouchner said on France-Inter radio he would travel to the region "in the coming days" and talk with Abbas and other regional leaders. France has sought to use its contacts in the Middle East to get negotiations going again. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Syrian President Bashar Assad are visiting Paris this week.