France denies \'automatic\' recognition of Palestinian state

Friday 04/03/2016
Ayrault: What we want is to resume negotiation process

CAIRO - France will not "automatically" recognise a Palestinian state if a Paris initiative to host an international conference to revive Israel-Palestinian peace talks fails, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Wednesday.

His predecessor, Laurent Fabius, had stirred Israeli anger in January by proposing such a conference and saying France would "recognise a Palestinian state" if peace talks failed.

"There is never anything automatic. France will present its initiative to its partners. It will be the first step, there is no pre-requisite," Ayrault said when asked at a press conference in Cairo about Fabius's remarks.

Ayrault is on a two-day visit to Egypt to discuss the French initiative for hosting an international conference "by this summer" to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which collapsed in April 2014.

"What we want, and that is our commitment, is to resume the negotiation process," he said.