France will recognize a Palestinian state if its efforts in coming weeks to try to break the deadlock between Israelis and Palestinians fail, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday.
"France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners, American, European, Arab, notably to preserve and make happen the solution of two states," he said.
Fabius said that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France had a responsibility to try to keep up efforts to find a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
Responding to Fabius' statement, the Palestinians said on Friday evening, "We welcome the call made by France for an inclusive and serious international involvement towards ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the full realization of a free, independent and sovereign State of Palestine on the 1967 borders."
Following France's announcement, US President Barack Obama's government said it was aware of the French foreign minister's statement, a senior administration official said on Friday.
"We are aware of Foreign Minister Fabius' remarks," the US official said. "We are not going to speculate about the proposed conference. We obviously continue to engage with our partners to find a constructive way forward in terms of advancing our shared goal of a two-state solution."
"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 status issues directly," the official said.
At the same time, the Palestinians announced that they are relaunching their efforts in the UN Security Council to try and overcome the current diplomatic impasse. The first step will involve pushing for a resolution against Israeli setlements, according to a statement that Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour delivered on Friday.
"We cannot accept he idea that 2016 will be a year in which nothing is done... We want to open the doors to peace in order to maintain the hope for and possibility of a two-state solution," Mansour said.
Mansour indicated that there had been contact over the last few days with the five permanent members of the security council (the US, France, Russia, China and the UK).
"A resolution on (Israelis in the West Bank) is one of the possibilities," Mansour said. "We are consulting Council members on their willingness to take measures in this regard."
Mansour also reminded the international community that the settlements are considered illegal and an obstacle to peace.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.