UN vote on Palestinians still weeks away: French FM

21st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A UN vote on whether to admit the Palestinians as a full member state is still "several weeks" away, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Wednesday, allowing time to avoid a confrontation.

"There will probably be several weeks and these weeks can be used to develop the strategy," Juppe told reporters, as the Palestinians prepared to go ahead with submitting a formal application for UN membership of a state of Palestine.

"Our role is to help cool things down," he added, saying "France has proposed a way forward, not a deal which is already sealed."

Earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed that the Palestinians should temporarily be granted the status of a non-member observer state as they wait for their bid for full statehood to be negotiated.

Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas would still submit a formal bid for statehood, but realized that the Security Council would need time to discuss it.

The moves aimed to seek to calm the mounting tensions at the United Nations, where the Palestinians had been on a collision course with Israel and the United States over the membership bid.

© 2011 AFP

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