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Palestine - UNESCO - Statement by the Deputy Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Paris, 31st October 2011 Retour à la table des matières

On September 21, President Sarkozy, presented to the UN General Assembly France’s vision with respect to making progress toward achieving peace, toward achieving a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Regarding the United Nations, President Sarkozy proposed that we should work on a General Assembly resolution that would allow Palestine to enhance its status within the UN by becoming a non-member observer State. We continue to believe that such a resolution would constitute legitimate progress toward the recognition of a Palestinian State, without causing – as we fear may happen as a result of an initiative at the Security Council – a major diplomatic confrontation, which would lead to deadlock.

The question today was whether the international community would say yes or no to Palestine’s application to join UNESCO. Of course, we would have preferred this question to be asked after the issue had been dealt with by the General Assembly in New York. But now as things stand, we must assume our responsibilities and give a substantive response. And, in essence, France says yes, Palestine has the right to become a member of UNESCO, an organization which aims to work toward the widespread development of a culture of peace within the international community. Such an accession to UNESCO is fully consistent with the UNGA initiative proposed by President Sarkozy.

France has always been – as it is now and will remain in the future - on the side of peace. It supports the Palestinian leaders, in particular the President of the Palestinian Authority, in their efforts to establish a Palestinian State living side by side, in peace and security with the State of Israel. President Sarkozy stressed this on September 21 to the UN General Assembly: if anyone, anywhere in the world, were to threaten the existence of Israel, France would immediately and wholeheartedly stand by Israel’s side. As we keep saying, the objective of two States living in peace and security will be achieved, first and foremost, through negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We urge both parties to make the necessary compromises so that the negotiations can resume straight away.

Learn more on Israel/Palestine.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU