Palestinians Accept French Peace Talks Plan

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 6:45 pm (UTC-5)
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The Palestinians have accepted France's proposal to try to revive Middle East peace talks with a meeting in Paris.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday he has agreed to the offer made by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Thursday. However, there is no indication that Israel has agreed.

On Thursday, Juppe said France wants to host talks between Israel and the Palestinians before the end of July. The peace talks stalled last September after Israel's partial freeze on settlement construction expired. Palestinians oppose construction on land they want as part of a future state.

France says it wants to revive negotiations before September, when the Palestinians are expected to submit a petition to the United Nations for statehood recognition.

Juppe has been meeting separately with Palestinian and Israeli officials over the past week. He said the current stalemate between the two sides is no longer tolerable.

Also Saturday, thousands of Israelis marched in Tel Aviv calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to change course and allow the creation of a Palestinian state.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has urged the international community to support statehood and the admission of Palestine as a U.N. member. The Palestinian news agency WAFA says Erekat commented on Saturday in a statement marking the 44th anniversary of Israel's seizure of control of East Jerusalem.