Abbas: Britain and France Would Recognize Palestinian State

In interview to Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Palestinian President says PA seeks to fulfill Obama's vision to see a Palestinian state established in September.

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated that the Palestinians are ready for statehood, but that the PA does not agree with the Israeli idea of temporary borders.

Speaking to the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, Abbas also said the PA would fulfill the vision of U.S. President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to see a Palestinian state established in September as determined by the Quartet of Mideast peacemakers.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meeting Tunisia’s Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi in Tunis, April 18, 2011. Credit: Reuters

"We have more than 130 nations set to recognize the Palestinian state within the 1967 borders," said Abbas,"and even if we make no further efforts, that number could be increased to 140 or 150." He also said countries that in the past had not recognized a Palestinian state, like Britain and France, would accept such a state.

Abbas, who is now visiting Tunisia, will continue to France where he will meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Meanwhile, American and European diplomats warned that if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not renewed, the Quartet, may formally recognize a Palestinian state, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.

The Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia, was supposed to meet last week to discuss an initiative by Britain, France and Germany to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks by proposing the outlines of a final settlement.

There is growing pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to unveil a new peace initiative, according to media reports - or risk the Quartet formally endorsing a unilaterally declared Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders in September. Despite the postponement of the Quartet meeting, its envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has clearly hinted at such a possibility.

Bright light

In an interview with the London Times, Blair said that "Palestinian state-building under the Palestinian Authority and [Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam] Fayyad is a bright light among a lot of diplomatic darkness."

Riyad Mansour, the top Palestinian diplomat at the United Nations, said the Palestinians would prefer to have a peace treaty with Israel by September.

The Palestinians say that if a peace treaty with Israel is not reached by September their first choice is to go to the UN Security Council with such strong support and arguments that it would recommend admission of Palestine as a new member of the United Nations.



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