French Foreign Minister to visit Palestinians

12th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will travel to the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks, following the election of Mahmud Abbas as Palestinian Authority president, his ministry said Wednesday.

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier will travel to the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks, following the election of Mahmud Abbas as Palestinian Authority president, his ministry said Wednesday.

A precise date for Barnier's trip was not released.

In a telephone call with Abbas following his election victory on Sunday, Barnier "reaffirmed the importance and the urgency of a determined effort to relaunch the roadmap" for Middle East peace, his ministry said in a statement.

The French foreign minister, who congratulated Abbas on his win at the polls, said Paris and Europe were prepared to help in any way possible to get the stalled peace process back on track.

The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations make up the so-called Middle East diplomatic quartet, which drafted last year's roadmap for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The roadmap blueprint set a 2005 target date for Palestinian statehood but has made virtually no progress since its launch last year and the United States is now aiming for a state by 2009.

Last week, Barnier said the "new relationship" between the United States and Europe could help kick-start the Middle East peace process.

"The Americans and the Europeans have a historic responsibility this year to prove that their new relationship is useful by helping to get this process started again," he said Friday.

"2005 can and must be the year for peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis," the minister added.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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