• France edition
 
France backs Palestinian UN observer status
Laurent Fabius (Photo: French foreign affairs ministry)

France backs Palestinian UN observer status

Published: 28 Nov 2012 10:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2012 10:07 GMT+01:00

Triggering public disagreement from close ally the United States, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday that Paris had a "consistent position" in support of recognising a Palestinian state.

He told the National Assembly that France, one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, would vote for "non-member observer state" status for the Palestinians.

France is the first European power to voice its approval of the Palestinian move to upgrade its current permanent observer status.

The proposal is set to sail through as it has the backing of the majority of the UN's 193 member states.

It will improve the chances of the Palestinians joining the International Criminal Court and UN agencies.

The Palestinians want to launch legal action in The Hague-based court to challenge Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

"We will vote with coherence and clarity," Fabius said.

"You know that for years and years France's consistent position has been the recognition of the Palestinian state," he said, recalling that former French president François Mitterrand had staked out that stance in a 1982 speech to the Israeli parliament.

That line was unchanged even during the tenure of former rightwing president Nicolas Sarkozy when Palestine was admitted to UNESCO last year, he said, adding that recognition of Palestine was one of current President François Hollande's campaign planks.

"That is why when the question is raised on Thursday and Friday, France will respond with a 'yes'," he said.

The draft resolution seeking the status upgrade also calls on the UN Security Council to "consider favourably" the Palestinian request for full membership made one year ago.

The United States, Israel's staunch ally, had blocked that move at the 15-nation council.

The United States and Israel have opposed the UN application, insisting that only direct talks on a peace accord can produce an agreement that will create a Palestinian state.

"We obviously disagree with our oldest ally (France) on this issue — they
know that we disagree with them," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland
said in Washington.

"But it's their sovereign decision to make, how to proceed."

Nuland told journalists that Washington is focused on the goal of "two states that can live peacefully next to each other".

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy to the United Nations, on Tuesday urged other powers to follow France's example, which he hailed as a landmark step.

"It is of a magnitude of a historic level and I am sure that many other European countries will follow the example of France and we thank them in advance for being on the side of history and the side of humanity," Mansour told reporters.

Israel had little to say on the development, with the foreign ministry merely saying that it was "no surprise".

"We knew that France was inclined to vote for this resolution, so we expected as much," spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP in an email.

Britain, also a permanent member of the Security Council, has not yet decided whether it will vote for the resolution, said the country's UN
ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant.

He told reporters that Britain believes the Palestinians should delay their application, but is still in talks with the Palestinian Authority.

The Austrian foreign ministry also said Tuesday it would back the bid and claimed that more than half the European Union's 27 member states would vote for it.

Diplomats have predicted that between 11 and 15 EU countries could back the Palestinian proposal.

The new resolution will call for a Middle East settlement that "fulfils the vision of two states, an independent, sovereign, democratic,
contiguous and viable state of Palestine, living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders."

It also highlights the "urgent need" for a resumption of peace talks, frozen in September 2010 when Israel refused a Palestinian demand to extend a moratorium on settlement building in the occupied territories.
 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French MPs poised to get powers to sack president
President may soon face a new threat in France. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

French MPs poised to get powers to sack president

As if President François Hollande didn’t have enough to worry about, French lawmakers backed a measure this week that would allow them to legally sack the president in case of a “serious breach of duties”. READ  

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'
There is a certain lack of transparency in France compared to other countries, says Transparency International. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'

A new study out this week slammed France for totally inadequate controls on lobbyists. The president of the group behind the report tells The Local how France is lagging in transparency and is playing catch up with other nations. READ  

IN PICTURES
French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin
The old barn or the old mill? What would you spend your money on? Photo: Leggett

French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin

Would you prefer a converted mill in the Vendée or a renovated barn in the Limousin region of France? Take a look at these two very different revamped properties in France that are on the market and decide what would you rather spend your money on. READ  

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'
French lawmakers could be in big trouble with the taxman. Photo: AFP

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'

In what could end up a major tax scandal in France some 60 French lawmakers are in trouble with the taxman after their financial disclosures to the public didn’t quite match up with what they’d declared to authorities, according to media reports. READ  

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages
The 2015 Tour de France route. Image: Le Tour.fr

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages

Here's a look at the key stages in the 2015 Tour de France after the route was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. Look out for the Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day. READ  

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France
The famous Alpe de Huez climb, which will be climbed on the penultimate stage of the 2015 race. Photo: AFP

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France

The route of the 2015 Tour de France was unveiled on Wednesday with one of the major surprises being the penultimate day of racing, which will see the peloton climb the mythical Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. READ  

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words
President François Hollande's first government feel a long time ago, with ousted ministers now in an open war of words with Socialist Party chiefs. Photo: AFP

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words

Splits plaguing France's ruling party came to the fore on Wednesday as ousted ministers and allies of embattled President Francois Hollande engaged in a very public war of words. READ  

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils
Paris Opera has reminded staff not to allow anyone enter the building if their face is covered. Photo: Panoramas/Flickr - Miguel Medina/AFP

Paris Opera lays down rules over Muslim veils

The management at Paris Opera have issued a memo to staff not to allow entry to anyone whose face is covered. It comes after a Muslim woman was asked to leave a performance of La Traviata earlier this month after she was spotted wearing a niqab face veil. READ  

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt
The migrant crisis in Calais is becoming increasingly violent and disruptive. Photo: AFP

Calais: Mass migrant fight leaves dozens hurt

Tensions were high in Calais on Tuesday night after police were forced to seal off a district in the port town after a mass brawl between migrants from Ethiopia and Eritrea, left dozens injured. READ  

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay
A protester joins members of the CGT union gathering on October 7, 2014 in front of the Royal Monceau hotel. Photo: Joel SAget

Paris: Luxury hotel staff strike for better pay

A rebellion among hotel workers at some of Paris's luxury hotels continued this week with staff at the deluxe Royal Monceau-Raffles - where the presidential suite costs €25,000 a night - staging a walk-out to protest over their low wages. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se