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France says will propose UN Security Council draft on Israel

Created: 03/27/2015 5:21 PM
By: By CARA ANNA

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — France's foreign minister said Friday his country will propose a U.N. Security Council resolution in the coming weeks that could present a framework for negotiations toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Laurent Fabius 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 U.N. headquarters before leaving for the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland.

"France will be part and parcel in proposing a resolution in the U.N.," he said. He said discussions with partners will begin in the days ahead.

The U.N.'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 U.S. 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 U.S. position in recent days, the Palestinian ambassador to the U.N., Riyad Mansour, called it a good question and pointed reporters to the U.S. ambassador.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to talk publicly, said Friday that the U.S. would not speculate on a "hypothetical resolution."

The official added, "We continue to engage with key stakeholders, including the French, to find a way forward that advances the interest we and others share in a two-state solution."

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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