France backs 'moderate' Israel settler resolution

20th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

France will vote for a UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements drafted by Arab states if it is moderate and does not prevent the resumption of peace talks, its foreign minister said Thursday.

"I have spoken about the resolution with my interlocutors," Michele Alliot-Marie said on the first day of a four-day tour of Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt and Jordan.

"If this resolution is moderate and if it does not block the resumption of (peace) negotiations, we will certainly vote for it," she told journalists.

Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold since September 26, when a 10-month freeze on Jewish construction in the West Bank expired.

The Palestinians have said they will not resume negotiations while Israel is building on land they want for their future state, but US and international efforts to convince Netanyahu to impose a new ban failed late last year.

On Wednesday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlement building is to be put to the vote in February, with support from Russia and France.

Erakat said the UN Security Council would vote on the resolution after a meeting of the Middle East Quartet, the international grouping that supports Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The Quartet's members -- Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations -- are to meet on February 5 in the German city of Munich.

"Our position is one of being opposed to settlements; this is for certain," Alliot-Marie said.

"We must see how the proposed resolution is drafted," she added. "If the terms are moderate and, above all, if they do not close the door to a possible resumption of negotiations, it is possible that we would vote for it."

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article