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French Parliament to vote on Palestinian state

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France’s National Assembly will vote this month on a largely symbolic resolution in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, hoping it could help end the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, officials said Wednesday.

Approval by the lower and more powerful chamber of parliament would send a signal to President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government, which has final say. The Socialist president hasn’t spoken on the matter recently, but he supported “international recognition” of a Palestinian state on the campaign trail two years ago and parliamentary leaders have recently consulted Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on the matter.

Socialist parliamentary officials said the vote is planned for Nov. 28. The Communist Party has floated a similar resolution in the Senate, which the upper house of parliament will take up on Dec. 11.

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll, speaking after a weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, suggested that even if parliament expressed support for recognition of a Palestinian state, France wouldn’t act alone – but rather as part of a broad international effort to help end years of violence and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The government’s responsibility is not just to recognize a state – a Palestinian state. It’s to make sure that it’s recognized on an international scale,” he told reporters. He cited a two-track approach: A debate in France’s parliament on the matter, and a French diplomatic commitment to reach a resolution on the issue at the U.N. Security Council.

Last month, British lawmakers voted in favor of a similar, symbolic vote, and Sweden became the biggest Western European country to outright recognize a Palestinian state – prompting a protest from Israel, which swiftly withdrew its ambassador from Stockholm. SAPA


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