France says it will recognize a Palestinian state if efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict come to nothing.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a Friday gathering of foreign diplomats that Paris has a responsibility as a permanent member of the UN Security Council to keep up efforts to find a solution between Israel and Palestine.
"We cannot let the two-state solution disintegrate. It is our responsibility as a UN Security Council member and a power seeking peace," Fabius said.
He noted that France is planning to hold an international conference in the "coming weeks" to bring together the Israeli and Palestinian sides as well as the US and some European and Arab states.
If this last attempt at finding a solution ends in a deadlock, "we need to face our responsibilities by recognizing the Palestinian state," Fabius said.
Meanwhile, a senior US official said President Barack Obama's administration is aware of the French stance, adding that Washington will not speculate about the proposed conference.
"The US position on this issue has been clear. We continue to believe that the preferred path to resolve this conflict is for the parties to reach an agreement on final … issues directly," the official said.
Reacting to the French minister’s remarks, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the move. "There is no doubt that a French recognition of the Palestinian state will contribute to building peace and stability in the region," he said.
In December 2014, both the French Assembly and Senate adopted resolutions urging Paris to recognize Palestine’s statehood.
The Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip, with East al-Quds as the capital. They are also demanding that Israel withdraw from the Palestinian lands occupied in a 1967 war. The Tel Aviv regime, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from the Israeli regime and the US.
Palestine's flag was hoisted for the first time at the United Nations headquarters in New York in September last year.