France's FM urges end to Palestinian fighting

7th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

CAIRO, Jan 6, 2007 (AFP) - France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said rival Palestinian factions must bury their differences and form a working government, after bloody strife in the territories last week left 13 dead.

CAIRO, Jan 6, 2007 (AFP) - France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said rival Palestinian factions must bury their differences and form a working government, after bloody strife in the territories last week left 13 dead.

There is a need to "push the Palestinians to overcome their divisions so that they may be united in a government which the international community can work with", he told a news conference alongside his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Abul Gheit.

The Palestinian Authority's President Mahmud Abbas is locked in a standoff with his rivals of the ruling party Hamas over forming a coalition cabinet.

Deadly clashes erupted last month between supporters of the rival parties after Abbas called for elections in order to resolve the impasse.

"The only solution is that there be a national unity government which allows Fatah and Hamas to work together," Douste-Blazy said on Saturday.

Abul Gheit ruled out the suggestion of four-sided talks hosted by Egypt with the Palestinians, Israel and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is to visit Egypt on February 14.

The two foreign ministers also called on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to respect commitments he made to Abbas on December 23, including a pledge to send money to Abbas and take down barriers restricting the movement of Palestinians.

Abul Gheit echoed the French minister's call for an end to Palestinian in-fighting. "The sons of Palestine must defend the Palestinian cause and not let it burn," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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