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Palestinian President visits French leaders

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 09:16

Paris: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas met with France`s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, who recently talked of recognising a Palestinian state even before
its borders are drawn up.

The visit followed diplomatic tensions with Israel after France and other countries summoned Israeli diplomats to explain the alleged use of fake passports in the killing of a
member of the Palestinian group Hamas.

Abbas was also due to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy for a working lunch today. The foreign ministry confirmed Abbas`s arrival yesterday but he and Kouchner were not scheduled to make any public statements at their dinner.

Ahead of Abbas`s visit, Kouchner was quoted as saying that in his view Palestinian statehood need not wait for the sensitive question of borders to be resolved -- comments
promptly dismissed by an Israel official.

"The issue before us at the moment is the building of a reality: France is training Palestinian police, businesses are being created in the West Bank," Kouchner said in an interview in the French newspaper.

"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."

Abbas has agreed in principle to a US proposal to hold indirect talks with Israel under Washington`s mediation, but has requested a number of guarantees.


First Published: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 09:16

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