• 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 claim success in Isis air raids
Photo: AFP/ECPAD/EMA/ARMEE DE L'AIR

French claim success in Isis air raids

France's Chief of the Defense Staff Pierre de Villiers has claimed that air strikes on Thursday and Friday by French, US and allied aircraft "hurt" Islamic State forces. READ  

French website exposes EU budget letter
French President Francois Hollande. Photo: AFP

French website exposes EU budget letter

A confidential letter sent to France by the EU Commission demanding clarifications on its 2015 budget, which will break EU spending rules, was unveiled Friday by a French news website. READ  

Le Pen: France needs to take control of borders
Front National president Marine Le Pen speaks to the press during a visit in the city of Calais, northern France. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP

Le Pen: France needs to take control of borders

National Front leader Marine Le Pen visited the northern port city of Calais on Friday where tensions are high as authorities under increasing pressure to control the influx of illegal migrants trying to get to Britain. READ  

Burglar in the buff snared by French police
A burglar in the buff was snared red handed and bare-bottomed by French police this week. Photo: Shutterstock

Burglar in the buff snared by French police

French police were called out to a bizarre incident this week when they received calls from scared residents in villages in central France alerting them to the presence of a burglar who was targeting homes in the buff. READ  

France to bring in Ebola checks 'on all transport'
A passenger arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport is checked for Ebola. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

France to bring in Ebola checks 'on all transport'

French president François Hollande said on Friday that measures to counter the risk of Ebola reaching France will be increased with tests to be carried out on people arriving in France on “all forms of transport”, meaning boats as well as planes. READ  

French military chief: 'It's safe to say we hurt Isis'
France and its allies "hurt" Isis forces in Iraq, French military chief has said. Photo: AFP

French military chief: 'It's safe to say we hurt Isis'

The leader of France's armed forces said his country's military "hurt" Isis forces in a recent raid led by the international coalition battling the extremists in Iraq. READ  

What's on in France
What's on in France: 11 things to do in November
The annual cider festival in Le Sap Normandy, just one of the many things to do in France in November. Photo: JCMayzaud

What's on in France: 11 things to do in November

If you're short of ideas for what to do in France in November, we've gathered together a list of 11 events that are well worth checking out, especially if you're into art, wine, music or just can't wait to get in the Christmas spirit. READ  

Paris: Saudi robbed of €15k cash while dining
Relations between France and Saudi Arabia could soon be strained if Paris thieves are not stopped. Photo: Dominic Faget/AFP

Paris: Saudi robbed of €15k cash while dining

A man working for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris had a whopping €15,000 in cash stolen while dining out in the city on Tuesday afternoon. He’s just the latest Saudi national to be targeted by thieves in France. READ  

Budget row: EU asks France for more details
Hollande and his PM Manuel Valls will have to convince Brussels their 2015 budget is in order. Photo: AFP

Budget row: EU asks France for more details

French President Francois Hollande said his country had received an EU Commission letter asking for clarifications over its 2015 budget, which forecasts that France will miss the deficit targets laid by Brussels by a wide margin. READ  

Vigilantes held as clown panic spreads in France
It's no joke. Clown panic is spreading across France. Photo: Shutterstock

Vigilantes held as clown panic spreads in France

Police arrested five armed youths in a town in eastern France this week who were hunting for “aggressive clowns” who were reportedly threatening locals. It’s just the latest incident in France where reports of armed clowns has spread panic. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
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
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