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France is Pressing Resolution of Israel-palestinian Conflict

March 5, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

France is determined to press the United States and other members of the victorious anti-Iraq coalition to move without delay to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian dispute.

The French want the United Nations to take the lead on the Security Council level, rather than to rely on Washington to work out a solution with the various interested parties.

That position was made clear in statements by French leaders on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s visits to Israel and the Arab members of the coalition, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia.

President Bush says he is determined to move quickly toward an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, though he will not impose one.

But Bush has not addressed the subject with the urgency and vehemence of French President” Francois Mitterrand, nor has he asserted it is a U.N. obligation to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as forcefully as it dealt with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

“It will be the task of the United Nations, which authorized war, now to seek peace,” the French president said Sunday night. “The community of nations will not tolerate that different issues be treated differently. There cannot be two different scales of measurement.”

“Israel must have safe and recognized borders and also the means to ensure its defense; the Palestinians must have the right to a national identity, a homeland and a state,” he added.

French Defense Minister Pierre Joxe was even more explicit.

“The most urgent task which France now has to meet, the most sacred one as well, is to obtain the same political and diplomatic determination (from the U.N. Security Council) in the application of international law to the Palestinians, Israel and Lebanon, as has been done when Kuwait was concerned,” Joxe said.

Prime Minister Michel Record stressed the French position at a meeting Monday with the Israeli ambassador, Overdo Softer.

Rocard said France would not try to impose any settlement on Israel but believes nevertheless that the time is now ripe for new initiatives.

“Israel should be the party launching new peace moves,” instead of trying to respond to foreign initiatives, Record told the Israeli envoy.

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