French FM: Recognition of ‘Palestine’ in 2016 if talks fail


(JTA) — The French government may recognize a Palestinian state in two years if efforts to revive peace talks fail, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

Fabius made the assertion on Friday in his speech at the end of a debate over the issue in the French National Assembly ahead of a vote planned for Dec. 2.

Fabius added that France will not change its current policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict regardless of how parliament votes on the non-binding draft motion, submitted by the Socialists earlier this month.

“The executive power and it alone will determine the timing of the political opportunity” for recognition of Palestinian statehood, Fabius said.

But if a “final effort to reach a negotiated solution fails, then France will have to do what it takes by recognizing without delay the Palestinian state,” he added.

Fabius said that at the United Nations, France and other partners “are working to try and adopt a Security Council resolution toward re-launching  and the conclusion of negotiations, for which the period of two years is the most widely-accepted. France could accept this figure.”

Fabius, who is a Socialist, also said that French policy favors a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian territories, but rejects “recognition for appearance’s sake.”

He also reiterated France’s desire to host a peace conference — an idea proposed earlier this year by French President Francois Hollande — which would bring together Palestinian and Israeli negotiators as well as representatives of Arab countries. He did not name a date for the conference.

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