French President Nicolas Sarkozy will consider recognizing Palestine as a state if the stalled peace process with Israel doesn’t bear fruit. The two warring Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, reached a landmark agreement Wednesday that will attempt to create a unified government for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to support the deal, but Abbas defied him. Abbas plans to declare Palestine an independent state in September, and may have a strong ally in France. —KDG
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.
“The idea that there is still plenty of time is dangerous. Things have to be brought to a conclusion” before a UN gathering in September, he added.
Germany, meanwhile, stressed on Wednesday that it would not recognise a Palestinian state without Israel’s acceptance.
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.
US-brokered peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians in September broke down over Israeli settlement activity.