Paris, France, February 23, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has reiterated his call for the creation of a "viable" Palestinian state but has not ruled out the possibility the international community could recognise a new state before its borders were set.
Speaking after a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Paris yesterday, Sarkozy left open the possibility of recognising a Palestinian state before negotiations with Israel were complete. His foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, has said in recent days that he would be "tempted" by the idea. "We want a Palestinian state but we want a viable state," Sarkozy said.
"What's the point of a state if it has no borders and cannot operate? But if the moment comes that we haven't reached that goal, in agreement with our Palestinian friends we could politically mark the idea of a Palestinian state."
Foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said before Abbas's arrival that to break the stalemate in the Middle East peace process, some countries might recognise a Palestinian state before its borders were determined. Israel has criticised the idea of any unilateral initiative and says only negotiations can achieve meaningful peace.
"One can imagine a Palestinian state being rapidly declared and immediately recognised by the international community, even before negotiating its borders. I would be tempted by that," Kouchner said.
Writing in Le Monde yesterday, Kouchner and Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos - whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU - called for a major international conference "to frame and give dynamic" to the peace process. After such a conference, "Europe could recognise a Palestinian state, finally allowing the Palestinians to become full members of the international community," they wrote.
Asked about his foreign minister's remarks, Sarkozy said Kouchner was thinking of possible ways to bring momentum to the peace process but that France's goal remained a functioning Palestinian state with clearly defined borders. "In Bernard's comments, there was the thought that if we don't manage that, then when the time comes, in accord with our Palestinian friends, we might underline the idea of this state politically, to lift it up a notch in a way.
"But the objective is the idea of a Palestinian state in the frontiers of 1967, with an exchange of territory, just as we have said all along," Sarkozy said.
Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Madrid Conference that began negotiations between Israel and Palestinian leaders. Talks are frozen because the Palestinian authority will not talk to the Israeli government until Israel stops all settlement activity in the West Bank.
Source: Irish Times