France says will propose UN Security Council draft on Israel

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United Nations, Mar 28: France's foreign minister has said his country will propose a UN Security Council resolution in the coming weeks that could present a framework for negotiations toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Laurent Fabius yesterday said "there is no other solution" but said he doesn't know what the United States, Israel's top ally, will agree to. The minister spoke to reporters at UN headquarters before leaving for the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland.

France

"France will be part and parcel in proposing a resolution in the UN," he said. He said discussions with partners will begin in the days ahead. The UN's top Mideast envoy, Robert Serry, challenged the Security Council on Thursday to lead the way on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it should present a framework for talks that "may be the only way to preserve the goal of a two-state solution."

France had put off a previous attempt at a council resolution to wait for the results of Israel's election earlier this month. "Now look at the result," Fabius said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu caused an international uproar when he said shortly before the election that he would not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state on his watch. He has since struck a conciliatory tone. But President Barack Obama has said he will reassess US policy toward Israel after Netanyahu's remarks, meaning that the Security Council could be a potential place to act.

Fabius said France will take up the effort for a resolution as soon as Israel's new government is formed. It's needed "to avoid a complete crash" in the crisis, he said. Support from the United States, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, is crucial for approval of a new resolution.

The United States in the past has said that only direct negotiations can end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When asked whether he had seen any sign of change in the US position in recent days, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, called it a good question and pointed reporters to the US ambassador. The US has not indicated whether it would support such a resolution. 

AP

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