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Britain, France mull Palestinian statehood

May 5, 2011 at 8:18 AM
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LONDON, May 5 (UPI) -- Britain and France may support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood if Israeli-Palestinian peace talks fail to progress, diplomats said.

A senior diplomatic source told the British newspaper The Guardian British Prime Minister David Cameron informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a meeting Wednesday his country could endorse such a declaration if Israel declines to take part in substantive peace talks.

"Britain's clear and absolute preference is for a negotiation to take place between Israel and the Palestinians which leads to a two state solution which everyone endorses," an unnamed source told the British daily.

"But at this point Britain is not ruling anything out. The more Israel engages seriously in a meaningful peace process the less likely it is that this question of unilateral declaration would arise."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy professed similar sentiments in an interview with the French newspaper L'Express, a day before meeting with Netanyahu, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Sarkozy said France would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state if no progress is made in peace negotiations.

"If the peace process resumed in the summer, France will say that the main parties must talk without pushing forward the schedule. If conversely, the peace process remains stalled in September, France will take responsibility on the central question of recognizing a Palestinian state," the French president was quoted saying.

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