• 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

France says it will back a Palestinian bid for enhanced UN status at a General Assembly vote this week, a move hailed by the Palestinians as a "historic" step in their quest for greater global recognition.

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.
 

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park
Syrian refugees children and women sit on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant parc in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

Syrian refugees set up home in Paris park

Around 150 Syria refugees are living a desperate existence in a small park to the north of Paris. NGOs and France's Green party are urging authorities to do more to help the families while they wait for their asylum requests to be processed. READ () »

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady
A French fetishist got 18 months behind bars for a foot licking attack on an elderly woman. Photo: Twon/Flickr

French foot licker jailed for attack on elderly lady

A French fetishist was so smitten with an elderly lady’s feet he burst into the terrified woman's home and lunged at her trotters, which he then proceeded to sniff, lick and rub. The lewd act cost him 18 months behind bars. READ () »

Wolves continue their advance on Paris
Wolves are getting closer to Paris, but they won't be biting Parisians anytime soon. Hopefully. Photo ErranAT/flickr

Wolves continue their advance on Paris

The contentious issue of wolves in France was once again in the spotlight this week after one of the predators was captured on camera for the first time within 250 km of Paris. An expert says they will come even closer but thankfully "they won't be biting Parisians". READ () »

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs
France says its economy will grow despite billions of euros in planned budget cuts. Photo: Euros.

France unveils raft of reforms to boost jobs

France laid out a new package of reforms on Wednesday to respect EU rules, cut spending, boost jobs and put its economy in shape to compete on world markets. READ () »

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college
Kim Jong-un's bid to send two North Koreans to learn how to make French cheese has been refused by a prestigious French college. Photos: Zennie62/Amandabhslater/Flickr

North Koreans snubbed by French cheese college

A bid by North Korea to send experts to a prestigious French cheese-making training school, seemingly at the behest of its fromage-loving leader King Jong-un, has been rejected. It did not fit with the institution's "priorities or strategy", it seems. READ () »

Paris launches new battle against French jihadists
Will a new French plan to stop the flow of jihadists to Syria have the desired effect? Photo: AFP

Paris launches new battle against French jihadists

France’s so-called top cop unveiled a dozen proposals on Wednesday aimed at stemming the flow of its residents toward the jihadist cause in Syria. Though some experts see the plan as a cynical political move ahead of European elections. READ () »

Getting married in France
How to avoid any French wedding nightmares
How to avoid any French wedding nightmares. Photo: Shutterstock

How to avoid any French wedding nightmares

France is a popular choice for foreign couples tying the knot including a fair few celebrities – but beware the pitfalls. Here, The Local speaks to a France-based wedding planner and a bride-to-be about how to have a hassle-free French wedding. READ () »

France vows to punish death of Mali hostage
French citizen Gilberto Rodriguez Leal sitting between two armed guards in an undisclosed place. A jihadist group in Mali on April 22, 2014 announced the death of the French hostage. Photo: AFP

France vows to punish death of Mali hostage

French President François Hollande has vowed to find out the truth behind the death of a French hostage in Mali and promised "it will not go unpunished". It comes after a jihadist group announced on Wednesday the death of Frenchman Gilberto Rodrigues Leal. READ () »

British duke takes €20m hit on Paris markets
A man walks on August 4, 2013 in the Clignancourt flea market in Saint-Ouen, outside Paris, that has cost the UK's Duke of Westminster a cool €20 million. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

British duke takes €20m hit on Paris markets

Britain's Duke of Westminster has bailed out of an investment in two famous Paris antiques markets nursing a reported loss of over €20 million, it emerged on Tuesday. READ () »

French writer's inequality book tops Amazon list
Thomas Piketty, whose book tops Amazon's best sellers list and appears to be liked by the White House. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

French writer's inequality book tops Amazon list

A book by a French economist praised by some as being one of the most important works in recent times and derided by others as a neo-marxist 'bizarre ideological creed' has shot to the top of Amazon's best sellers list. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to avoid a French wedding nightmare
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why sacked French ministers deserve no pity
Gallery
How well do you know your French text message lingo?
National
Divorced from reality? French plan for puppy custody laws
Travel
'Burgundy is for wine not wind': Will wind farms ruin famous wine region?
National
Why does France have a record number of people behind bars?
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
Advertisement:
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
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 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