French FM to attend Palestinian flag-raising at UN

26th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Saturday he will attend a ceremony next week to raise the Palestinian flag at the United Nations, despite opposition from Israel and the United States.

The Palestinians have invited hundreds of leaders to attend the event on Wednesday in the presence of president Mahmud Abbas.

Fabius told reporters in New York that his presence at the ceremony would highlight France's "continued support for a two-state solution."

"We cannot allow the two-state solution to fall apart before our eyes," he said.

"We cannot risk seeing Daesh take over the Palestinian cause," he said, referring to the Islamic State group that now controls parts of Syria and Iraq.

France was among the 119 countries that backed a UN resolution allowing the flags of Palestine and of the Holy See to be raised at the world body, alongside those of the 193 member-states.

Eight countries including Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia voted against the measure, dismissing it as a symbolic gesture that would not serve the cause of peace.

Palestinian envoy Riyad Mansour has said the hoisting of the flag will be a "glorious day" that will underscore Palestinian aspirations for statehood.

The Palestinians and the Holy See have non-member observer status at the United Nations.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is planning to attend the flag-raising event held just after Abbas takes the podium at the General Assembly to deliver his address.

On that same day, Ban will be hosting a meeting of the diplomatic quarter seeking a political settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a shift, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League have been invited to the meeting along with the foreign ministers of Russia, the United States and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.


© 2015 AFP

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