Recognition of Palestine as non-member state observer at the UN (November 29, 2012)


Palestine - non-member observer state status – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

The United Nations General Assembly has just granted Palestine the status of non-member observer state. France made a choice consistent with the goal of two states living in peace and security, expressed as early as 1947.

This vote is in line with my commitment to support international recognition of the Palestinian state. But it will become a reality only in the framework of a just and comprehensive peace settlement. In order to achieve this goal, the negotiations must resume, without preconditions and as soon as possible.

Indeed, direct dialogue is the only way to find a definitive solution to this conflict. France is ready to contribute to it, as a friend of both Israel and Palestine.

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Mahmoud Abbas speaking at the UN General Assembly - 29.11.12 (Photo : AFP/Stan Honda)


Explanation of vote by Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

"Mr. President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary-General, Mr. President, Ministers, Ambassadors, Dear Colleagues,

By voting today to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state within this organization, France has voted for the two-State solution – two States for two peoples, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security within secure and internationally recognized borders; a solution it advocated before the rest of the international community came on board; a solution that is now jeopardized by the deadlock in the peace process.

It is a clear, consistent choice.

Back in 1982, President François Mitterrand called for the establishment of a Palestinian State before the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Since then, France has spared no effort to promote this solution. It was in keeping with this legacy that in 2012, President François Hollande pledged to support international recognition for the Palestinian State.

France could not miss this opportunity, which is a new step toward the two-State solution; France could not fail to hear President Abbas’s call for the revival of a credible peace process; it could not fail, just a few days after the latest outbreak of violence between Israel and Gaza, to grant its full support for the partners of peace when advocates of the armed struggle were attempting to gain the upper hand.

The Palestinian initiative comes at a difficult time and its repercussions could be significant. But France calls on all parties to understand and acknowledge its critical importance and to respond by the resumption of negotiations and not by reprisals that would serve only the play in the hand of extremists. France also calls on the international community – Americans, Europeans, Arabs –to unite in this view.

France also urges the Palestinians to build on this political success by contributing to the prospects for peace. Contributing to the prospects for peace means continuing to combat terrorism and taking all necessary measures to end the attacks against Israel; it means moving forward, on the basis of the PLO’s commitments, on inter-Palestinian reconciliation, without which the two-State solution is merely an illusion. Contributing to the prospects for peace means, first and foremost, returning to the negotiating table immediately and without preconditions; and finally, it means avoiding a new cycle of sterile confrontations within international forums.

Because the hardest part still lies ahead of us, ahead of them. This vision of two States for two peoples remains to be translated into reality. The international recognition granted today by this Assembly for the project of a Palestinian state can become a reality only within the framework of a just and comprehensive peace, a peace settlement that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of Israel and Palestine. This is a challenge facing not only the two governments and two peoples, but the international community as well. France is prepared to meet it as a friend of Israel and a friend of Palestine.

Thank you."

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Palestinian territories – Reply given by Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (27 November 2012)

"You ask me about the vote France is going to cast this Thursday or Friday on recognition of the Palestinian state. We’re going to vote both consistently and clear-sightedly. As you know, for years and years France’s constant position has been to recognize the Palestinian state. It was true in 1982, with the speech François Mitterrand delivered in the Knesset. It was true last year, when France voted in favour of recognizing Palestine at UNESCO. And it was true – as you’ve recalled – in the presidential campaign, because in his 59th commitment, François Hollande, the candidate who became president, made the same pledge. That’s why I’m answering you directly: on Thursday or Friday, when the question is asked, France will vote yes, out of a concern for consistency.

But at the same time, ladies and gentlemen deputies, we must be very clear-sighted about this, on the one hand because the text is currently under discussion, and I spoke to President Mahmoud Abbas yesterday morning, and on the other hand because – let’s not hide the fact – the time when the question is going to be asked is a very delicate time. This is true because the ceasefire is extremely fragile, because there are Israeli elections and because there’s a change in the composition of the American administration. And also, anyway, only through the unconditional and immediate negotiation we’re calling for between the two sides will it be possible to achieve a Palestinian state in reality.

If we’re both consistent and clear-sighted, then we’ll be working for peace."

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