Palestinians Urge Quartet to Endorse European Mideast Peace Initiative

European proposal includes immediate halt to Israeli settlement activity and a return to pre-1967 borders with land swaps; Abbas pushes France to recognize Palestinian state in meet with Sarkozy.

Palestinians called on the United States and other Mideast mediators to endorse a European proposal for a peace agreement with Israel on Thursday.

Riyad Mansour, the top Palestinian diplomat at the United Nations, told the Security Council that a clear endorsement by the Quartet of Mideast peace makers - which includes the U.S., UN, European Union and Russia - would seriously contribute to reviving stalled negotiations with Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas  - AP - 16.03.2011

The European proposal includes immediately halting settlement activity and a return to pre-1967 borders with land swaps.

Mansour reiterated the Palestinians are determined to become an independent state by the September target set by the Quartet and endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pleaded for France to recognize an independent Palestinian state during a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

Evidence that an independent Palestinian state should be internationally recognized was mounting, Abbas told France 24 television as he repeated his offer to return to the negotiating table with Israel.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has said several times over the past few days that France is considering recognizing an independent state.

The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has been in limbo since September, when talks were broken off by the Palestinians when Israel refused to renew a partial moratorium on building in settlements in Palestinian territory.

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