Abbas, Sarkozy to meet in Paris

AFP , Tuesday 11 Oct 2011

Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki says the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas is to meet his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris to discuss UN bid

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and French President Nicolas Sarkozy will meet in Paris in the coming days on the Palestinian bid for UN recognition, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said here Tuesday.

Maliki said Abbas would depart for France after meeting Tuesday with Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on the request for UN Security Council recognition of a Palestinian state. Both Colombia and France are members of the UN council.

"We are going to have a meeting with the French president Sarkozy on the same subject because France is also a permanent member of the Security Council," he told AFP.

Earlier Monday, Abbas said he was willing "at any moment" to restart peace negotiations with Israel aimed at a settlement that allows them to exist side by side as states.

"We are in favor of peaceful negotiations leading to the creation of a Palestinian state, alongside the state of Israel," Abbas said in Bogota, where he is concluding a Latin American tour to rally support for UN recognition.

"We are at any moment willing to return to the negotiating table if Israel is of the same mind," he said, during an event where he was declared an honorary citizen of Bogota by the city's mayor.

The Middle East Quartet (United States, Russia, United Nations and the European Union) has called for a resumption of negotiations.

Israel on Sunday accepted with reservations a plan proposed by Quartet envoy Tony Blair, while the Palestinians have said there will be no negotiations until Israel freezes settlement -- a demand they say is written into the Quartet proposal.

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