French FM: Dubai killing proves need for a Palestinian state
French PM Fillon condemns Mabhouh assassination, says light must be shone on those responsible.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in an interview published Saturday that the January assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai demonstrates the need for an immediate recognition of a Palestinian state.
"[The case] shows the need for peace and a Palestinian state, immediately," Bernard Kouchner told the French Journal du Dimanche.
Kouchner added that the assassination, which Hamas believes was carried out by the Israeli Mossad, underscores the need for peace in the Middle East.
Also on Saturday, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon condemned the assassination of Mabhouh and called for the truth about the killing to be established.
"I do not know all the details of this issue in Dubai. I hope that light will be shone on those responsible in this assassination," Fillon said during a visit to Syria.
"France condemns assassination. Assassination is not a means of action in international relations," he added during a news conference held with his Syrian counterpart Mohammed Naji Otri.
"All assassinations, wherever they come from, whoever ordered them should be condemned," he added.
"Like the British and the Germans, we have asked the Israeli authorities for explanations as a French passport was used in the operation. We want to know the whole truth on the issue."
In his interview, Kouchner also commented on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' acceptance of a United States proposal to mediate indirect talks with Israel, saying that he could envision the establishment of a Palestinian state even before the borders were negotiated.
"France is training Palestinian police, businesses are being created in the West Bank.... It follows that one can envision the proclamation soon of a Palestinian state, and its immediate recognition by the international community, even before negotiating its borders," Kouchner said in the interview.
Kouchner's comments came ahead of a visit to Paris by Abbas next week, and after Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he could see an independent Palestinian state in 2011 regardless of whether peace talks have advanced with Israel.
"If by mid-2011, the political process has not ended the [Israeli] occupation, I would bet that the developed state of Palestinian infrastructure and institutions will be such that the pressure will force Israel to give up its occupation," Fayyad said in an interview published in French media on Friday.
Abbas is due to meet with Kouchner in Paris on February 21 and with French President Nicolas Sarkozy the following day, a senior Palestinian official said this week on condition of anonymity.