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Third conference on Franco-Palestinian decentralized cooperation

Published on January 26, 2012
Speech by Henri de Raincourt, Minister responsible for Cooperation (excerpts)

Hebron, January 23, 2012

(…)

Since the [International Donors’] Conference for the Palestinian State, which was held in Paris in 2007 on France’s initiative, the building of Palestinian institutions, the reforms and the modernization have continued nonstop under your leadership, Prime Minister.

There’s a consensus today within the international community that Palestine is ready to become a state. The Palestinians deserve this state. And their aspirations, at a time when the Arab world is being radically transformed, are no less legitimate than those of their Tunisian, Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian brothers and sisters.

As President Sarkozy said at the United Nations on 23 September 2011, “The Arab Spring imposes on us a moral obligation, a political obligation to finally resolve the Middle East conflict. We can’t wait any longer!”

It’s because Palestine is ready, it’s also because it’s a matter of urgency that France voted for Palestine to join UNESCO in Paris last November.

France’s position on the peace process is known. We repeat it everywhere. It has never changed: we believe that peace will come only as a result of determination on both sides.

Today this determination is lacking, and trust must be restored between the partners: we hope the meetings being held in Amman since the beginning of the month under the aegis of the Quartet and of our Jordanian friends will enable progress along this path. But only a change of method, as President Sarkozy has insistently called for, is capable of ending the deadlock we’re in: those who have an interest in peace must actually combine their efforts.

This change of method is essential, but it mustn’t blind us to the crucial thing: no intervention, no external involvement can replace the choice of peace, that difficult and necessary choice which is the Israelis’ and Palestinians’ alone.

Restoring trust also requires an end to unilateral measures that not only sap the credibility of the negotiations but also jeopardize, in the short term, the two-state solution. I repeat it here unequivocally: it’s essential that the settlement activity, house demolitions and expulsions cease. The future of the peace process depends on it. (…)./.

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