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Abbas in Paris for meeting with Sarkozy

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after meeting Sept. 1, 2010, with President Barack Obama in Washington. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas speaks after meeting Sept. 1, 2010, with President Barack Obama in Washington. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

PARIS, April 22 (UPI) -- Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would meet in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the creation of a Palestinian state.

In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Abbas said Thursday he is hopeful that an independent Palestinian state will be created by the end of 2011.

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He was expected to discuss with Sarkozy the steps necessary to gain France's recognition of a Palestinian state. The report said France and the European Union are considering doing so in hopes it will move the peace process forward by putting pressure on Israel.

The 2011 timeline could be optimistic because of problems over settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the report said.

"We can't say that certain organizations or countries promised to recognize a Palestinian state," Abbas said. "But all the signs they are sending show that they are awaiting the right moment to do so."

Abbas said he didn't know what moves would be taken if there is no agreement on creating a Palestinian state.

"If the international community does not want to recognize a Palestinian state, we will assemble all the political leaders from our country to discuss options and the next step," Abbas said. "And frankly, I don't know what that step would be. But it would be difficult and dangerous."

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