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France

France, Jordan push UN Middle East vote after French MPs back Palestine recognition

media French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius during a debate on Palestine in the National Assembly last month Reuters

Following the French parliament’s vote in favour of recognising Palestine as a state, Jordan is to push the UN Security Council to pass a resolution before Christmas calling for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

French MPs on Tuesday voted 339-151 in favour of recognising a Palestinian state – a vote, like those taken Britain, Spain and Ireland, that is not binding on the government but is a sign of international frustration over the stalled peace process.

Sweden’s government recently recognised Palestine.

Four MPs from the ruling Socialist Party abstained.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

The mainstream right opposition UMP, which had been split on whether to oppose the motion or abstain, finally agreed to vote against as advocated by the party’s newly elected leader, former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who attended the parliamentary group’s meeting.

Nine UMP MPs voted for the motion.

The far-right Front National’s two MPs voted against.

The Palestinian leadership expressed its “gratitude” and urged Paris to "translate its parliament's vote into action".

Israel responded angrily, claiming move will reduce the likelihood of its reaching a deal with the Palestinians.

“Resolutions of this kind only work to harden the Palestinian position and to send an erroneous message to those leading the people of that region,” Israeli foreign affairs spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon told RFI from Berlin. “We believe that the only way to arrive at a solution to this conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and not through the intervention by a unilateral strategy of one of the parties or a third party.”

The US also gave the vote a cool reception.

"We support Palestinian statehood but believe it can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties that resolve the final status issues," deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said.

Jordan’s ambassador at the UN, Dina Kawar, on Tuesday said that Amman will try to have a resolution calling for new talks passed by the Security Council “before Christmas and if not in January”.

Jordan is the only Arab country on the Security Council.

In November it circulated a Palestinian resolution, which was backed by the Arab League on Saturday, calling for the end of the Israeli occupation by November 2016.

Many diplomats at the UN believe that the US would veto such a motion.

Kawar also mentioned French efforts to draft a motion in consultation with Germany and Britain.

Jordan and the US have been informed of Paris’s ideas but discussions are still at an early stage.

On Friday French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said that France will recognise if diplomatic efforts fail and called for agreement to be reached within two years and floated the idea of a an international conference on the Middle East to be held in Paris at an as-yet undecided date.

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