Unresolved Palestinian question risks violence: France

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French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe Monday warned of the risk of an "explosion of violence" if the Palestinian situation is not resolved, saying the status quo was "neither acceptable nor tenable."

"The relaunch of the peace process is needed," Juppe told an audience at a think-tank in New York, amid frantic diplomatic efforts to stop the Palestinians seeking UN recognition of their statehood.

He said he planned to meet with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas later Monday. "I will ask him what is his strategy? Going to the Council of Security and what after that?

"We have to avoid such a confrontation. We have to find a balanced solution," Juppe told the Council on Foreign Relations, adding that he thought the international community had "three or four days" to find such a solution.

The Palestinians have said that Abbas plans to present his request for UN membership to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, after addressing the UN General Assembly.

Abbas warned early Monday as he arrived for the annual assembly that he expects a "very difficult" situation after he seeks membership in the global body for a Palestinian state this week.

The move is strongly opposed by Israel and the United States, as world powers meet at the United Nations in an 11th-hour attempt to head off the membership bid and avoid a diplomatic showdown.

Speaking to reporters traveling with him, Abbas admitted he has been under international pressure over the Palestinian bid, which has also split the European Union.

Much of the international community, led by Washington and the EU, has been scrambling to draw up a peace talks proposal that would convince the Palestinians to either delay the bid or drop it altogether.

The proposals would potentially include a freeze on Jewish settlements and lay out clear parameters for negotiations.

On Sunday, officials from the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- held a meeting to discuss such a framework.

© 2011 AFP

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