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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: Reuters
French FM: Mideast on verge of violent outbreak
Less than week before the Palestinian UN bid, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe stresses importance of peace process, claims status quo is untenable
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé warned Monday of the risk of an "explosion of violence" if the Palestinian situation is not resolved, saying that the status quo was "neither acceptable nor tenable."

 

"The relaunch of the peace process is needed," Juppe told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, amid frantic diplomatic efforts to stop the Palestinians' UN bid.

 

For more on the PA's statehood bid :

 

Earlier Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned – as he arrived for the annual UN General Assembly – that he expects a "very difficult" situation after he submits Ramallah's membership bid to the global body later this week.

 

The move is strongly opposed by Israel and the United States, as world powers meet at the United Nations in an 11th-hour attempt to head off the membership bid and avoid a diplomatic showdown.

 

  • For full coverage of the PA statehood bid click here

 

Speaking to reporters traveling with him, Abbas admitted he has been under international pressure over the Palestinian bid, which has also split the European Union.

 

Abbas said he won't be deterred from seeking UN recognition of a state of Palestine, despite what he said was "tremendous pressure" to drop the request and instead resume peace talks with Israel. He also claimed that negotiations remain his preference, but that they must be based on the pre-1967 war lines and include a halt of all Israeli settlement construction on occupied land.

 

The Palestinian leader stated that even if Israel were to agree to those two demands, "we will go to the UN because there is no contradiction between negotiations and going to the UN."

 

Abbas said his plan, for now, is to go to the Security Council, but suggested he might change tactics at the last minute and go for the lesser option of General Assembly approval of Palestine as a nonmember observer state. Chances for success are much higher in the General Assembly, which Abbas is to address Friday.

 

"From now until delivering the speech at the General Assembly, we have no thought except going to the Security Council," he remarked. "Then, whatever the decision is, we will sit with the leadership and decide."

 

Pushing for peace talks

Much of the international community, led by Washington and the EU, has been scrambling to draw up a peace talks proposal that would convince the Palestinians to either delay the bid or drop it altogether.

 

The proposals would potentially include a freeze on Jewish settlements and lay out clear parameters for negotiations.

 

On Sunday, officials from the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East - the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - held a meeting to discuss such a framework.

 

 

 

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