Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (left) met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (right) and President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday, a day after Kouchner suggested recognising a Palestinian state before final borders are agreed.
AFP - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas met Sunday with France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, who recently talked of recognising a Palestinian state even before its borders are drawn up.
The visit followed diplomatic tensions with Israel after France and other countries summoned Israeli diplomats to explain the alleged use of fake passports in the killing of a member of the Palestinian group Hamas.
Abbas was also due to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy for a working lunch on Monday. The foreign ministry confirmed Abbas's arrival Sunday but he and Kouchner were not scheduled to make any public statements at their dinner.
Ahead of Abbas's visit, Kouchner was quoted as saying that in his view Palestinian statehood need not wait for the sensitive question of borders to be resolved -- comments promptly dismissed by an Israel official.
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"The issue before us at the moment is the building of a reality: France is training Palestinian police, businesses are being created in the West Bank," Kouchner said in an interview in the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche.
"It follows that one can envision the proclamation soon of a Palestinian state, and its immediate recognition by the international community, even before negotiating its borders."
A senior Israeli official told AFP on Sunday that "granting recognition when the issues of the conflict have not been settled would add fuel to the fire.
"This would only push the Palestinians to be even more intransigent and thus make any compromise impossible," the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Abbas has agreed in principle to a US proposal that he hold indirect talks with Israel under Washington's mediation, but has requested a number of guarantees.
The Palestinians broke off peace talks after Israel launched a devastating assault on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in December 2008, and they insist on a halt to the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Date created : 2010-02-22