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Viable Palestinian state by 2012 - Bernard Kouchner

July 27, 2010 12:48 P.M. (Updated: July 30, 2010 9:53 A.M.)
A little less than three years after the International Donors' Conference for the Palestinian State, held in Paris on 17 December 2007, the Palestinians - despite numerous constraints and the absence, at this stage, of a political agreement - are laying the groundwork for their State under the leadership of Mr Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO.

The international community and the European Union in particular have made strong contributions, but the principal merit goes to the Palestinians. They have reorganized their administrations, made their public finances transparent, and have achieved unquestionable results with respect to security and respect for the rule of law, which have been welcomed by the international community.

On 1 July I had the opportunity to reaffirm the following to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad: France supports the creation of a viable, independent, democratic Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel by the first quarter of 2012, in accordance with the objective established by the Quartet in its communiqué of 19 March 2010.

To help achieve this objective and guarantee its credibility, our country supports the immediate establishment of the institutions of the future Palestinian state, in line with the spirit of the Paris Conference.

In this context, we considered it timely to move to a new level, in close coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, by upgrading the status of the General Delegation of Palestine in France.

This decision, applicable immediately, will have three consequences:

1) The General Delegation of Palestine will now be called the "Palestinian Mission."

2) The Palestinian Delegate-General will now be designated the "Palestinian Ambassador, Chief of Mission."

3) When he arrives at his post, the new "Palestinian Ambassador, Chief of Mission" will bear a letter from the president of the Palestinian Authority that will be presented to President Sarkozy during a presentation of credentials ceremony.

2010 must bring decisive progress on the road to peace. If we wait, we will diminish the chances for peace. The status quo benefits only extremists. The time has come to push aside agendas, resistance to change, and timidity to resolve a conflict whose consequences are not regional but global. France wants to hold a summit reviving the three tracks of the peace process to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The parties must be encouraged to establish a timetable culminating, before the end of the year, in the signing of an agreement and the creation of a viable, democratic, modern Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel.

We will continue to mobilize our efforts until the plan for establishing the Palestinian state comes to fruition. The Palestinians must be permitted to exercise their sovereignty within the framework of their state. This is what France, along with her EU partners, is striving for.

Bernard Kouchner is the French minister of foreign and European affairs.
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