Palestinian president to visit Paris in April
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will visit Paris in mid-April for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a senior Palestinian official told AFP on Tuesday. "It will be around the 15th of the month," he told AFP in Ramallah, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Last week, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that European Union recognition of a Palestinian state was a "possibility that should be kept in mind."
Israel did not react to his remarks but has expressed alarm over the growing number of countries recognising a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, saying the conflict cannot be resolved through unilateral actions and a state should only arise through negotiations.
News of the Paris visit comes as the Palestinians pursue a diplomatic strategy aimed at ramping up support for a planned appeal to the United Nations Security Council to recognise their state and grant them membership of the world body.
Although no fixed date has been set for the appeal for recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with east Jerusalem as its capital, it is widely expected to happen by September.
The strategy was adopted by the Palestinian leadership following the collapse of peace talks with Israel late last year in a dispute over Jewish settlement building, with the international community struggling to find ways of bringing the two sides back to the negotiating table.
Direct talks, which were launched in September, ran aground after Israel refused to renew a temporary ban on new settlement construction, with the Palestinians insisting they will not negotiate while Israel builds on land they want for a future state.
© 2011 AFP