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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Netanyahu says only negotiation can achieve peace with Palestine

(PalestineTwitter)-France may recognise a Palestinian state later this year Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said in an interview with a leading weekly magazine.

"If the peace process is still dead in September, France will face up to its responsibilities on the central question of recognition of a Palestinian state," Sarkozy said in an interview with L'Express published on Wednesday.

A serious quest for peace can only happen through negotiations, through negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and not through a UN diktat," he told reporters.

The UN General Assembly is expected to discuss the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in September. France has expressed its support for a Palestinian state but some other European members hold reservations.

Ahead of a visit by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, fresh from a Cairo reconciliation ceremony with Hamas, Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for the German government, said Berlin's position had not changed when asked about Sarkozy's remarks.

"The policy of the German government remains what Chancellor [Angela] Merkel said after talks with Israel's Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu in April: that in her view, a unilateral recognition would not contribute to the goal" of a two-state solution, he said.

On Wednesday, senior officials of the Palestinian Authority and the Islamic Hamas movement, the actual ruler of Gaza, signed an agreement to establish a joint government, bringing the hope to end four years of division.

Sarkozy said European powers planned in the next few months "to relaunch the peace process along with the Americans, because Europe cannot be the main one paying for Palestine and yet remain a minor figure politically in the matter."

Merkel had said after her talks with Netanyahu last month that any German recognition of a Palestinian state would have to come in the context of mutual Israeli-Palestinian recognition.

Sarkozy's office didn't make any statement after the meeting with Netanyahu. Before their meeting, an Elysee statement said their talk would aim to restart the stalled peace process concerning Israel and Palestine.

Netanyahu arrived in Paris on Thursday afternoon after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

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