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France and the Palestinian territories

Introduction

France considers the Palestinian Authority to be the prefiguration of the Palestinian State and that, accordingly, it must be supported. France maintains normal and fruitful relations with its President, Mr.Mahmoud Abbas, and its Prime Minister, Mr.Salam Fayyad.

The Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian State (Paris Conference), which was held in Paris on 17 December 2007, shows France’s political and diplomatic commitment to finding a political solution in the Near East. It has made it possible to release considerable financial support for Palestinian Prime Minister S. Fayyad’s reforms and to send a strong message: the international community wants to play a concrete role in laying the foundations of a viable Palestinian State.

Follow-up meetings of the co-chairs (Bernard Kouchner, Tony Blair, Benita Ferrero Waldner and Jonas Gahr Stoere) are organized on a regular basis to take stock of the implementation of each party’s commitments.

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, accompanied by Bernard Kouchner, Foreign Affairs Minister, made a State visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories from 22 to 24 June 2008 during which he reasserted France’s commitment to the creation of a Palestinian State and peace in the region.

In addition, Mr.Bernard Kouchner has gone to the Palestinian Territories five times (10-13 September 2007, 17-18 November 2007, 17-18 February 2008, 21-23 May 2008, 3-5 October 2008) to encourage the parties in their negotiations on the final status and to follow up on the Paris Conference.

The President of the Palestinian Authority visited France on 29 June 2007, when he met with Mr.Nicolas Sarkozy and Mr. Bernard Kouchner, who reaffirmed France’s support to the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Riad El Malki, participated in the summit on 3-4 November 2008 organized in the context of the Union for the Mediterranean: the Marseilles Declaration specifically calls on the parties to comply with their respective commitments in accordance with the road map to a permanent settlement of the conflict on the basis of two States and welcomes the relevance of the “Arab Peace Initiative”.

Palestinian Prime Minister S. Fayyad was received by Bernard Kouchner andFrançois Fillon during his most recent visit to Paris on 13 November 2008. He praised France’s efforts in the peace process. At the conclusion of these meetings, the achievements of the peace process since the conferences in Annapolis and Paris and the willingness of the international community to continue the process beyond 2009 were also praised.

The French presidency of the Council of the European Union decided to initiate a strengthening of the relations between the European Union and the Palestinian Authority. The first political dialogue was held in Ramallah this past 1 December (a subcommittee dealing with the issue of human rights and governance was held on 2 December).

Updated on 15.12.08

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