France to support Palestine UN status bid
France is to support Palestine’s bid for “non-member observer state” at the UN General Assembly later this week.
French foreign minister said France had long backed Palestine’s bid for statehood, and will respond “yes” whether the country should upgrade from “permanent observer” to “non-member observer state”.
The move will be opposed by the US and Israel over concerns that Palestinians are trying to gain statehood through the UN, rather than through negotiation set out in the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Russia and China have also expressed support for the bid, along with 12 other European countries.
This is a huge blow to Israel whose diplomats have been working extremely hard to ensure a “moral majority”, meaning that even if a majority of countries voted in favour, the major world powers would not.
It has been France’s policy to back Palestine’s bid for international recognition since François Mitterrand set out the policy in 1982.
“You know that for years and years France’s consistent position has been the recognition of the Palestinian state,” Laurent Fabius told the lower house of parliament.
However, Mr Fabius is aware the vote comes at a very delicate time as an “extremely fragile” ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has recently been imposed after eight days of fighting, and the re-election of President Obama.
The vote itself falls on the 65th anniversary of the United Nations’ decision to partition the territory of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.