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France: Palestine recognition must be ‘helpful,’ not symbolic

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius tells lawmakers Paris will make the move ‘when the time is right’

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, arrives at the Elysee palace to attend a meeting on October 13, 2014, in Paris. (photo credit: AFP/THOMAS SAMSON)
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, arrives at the Elysee palace to attend a meeting on October 13, 2014, in Paris. (photo credit: AFP/THOMAS SAMSON)

PARIS — French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that any recognition of a Palestinian state must be “helpful to peace” as part of a two-state solution, and not just symbolic.

A day after British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a state in a highly symbolic and non-binding vote, Fabius said France would do so only “when the time is right.”

“From the moment that we say there must be two states (Israel and Palestine), there will be a need for recognition of the Palestinian state, that goes without saying,” Fabius told the lower house National Assembly.

“The only question is what are the procedures and how to be most effective. What we want is not a symbolic issue but to be helpful to peace.”

Fabius suggested that the “right time” he was referring to could come when all attempts at negotiation had been exhausted.

The debate follows the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and this summer’s conflict in Gaza.

The British vote came after Sweden announced it would recognize a new Palestinian state, a move criticized by Israel and the United States.

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