French FM Backs Palestinian Calls for Inquiry into Violence
French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine on Sunday backed Palestinian demands for an inquiry into how the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories flared up.
The Israelis had to respond to the Palestinian claim, take stock and establish what could have caused the violence to flare up, Vedrine told France's RTL radio on Sunday.
The Palestinians are calling for a United Nations-backed international inquiry into what has caused the last two weeks' violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Israel has said it will not accept the internationalization of efforts to investigate the conflict, but will accept some sort of "fact-finding mechanism."
So far, at least 107 people have been killed in the violence -- 100 of them Palestinians.
Vedrine said he hoped Monday's talks between the two sides in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, would see Israel agree to such an inquiry and would also get the peace talks back on track.
French President Jacques Chirac has already blamed a visit by Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound for having sparked the violence, describing it as an "irresponsible provocation."
The United States abstained as the UN Security Council adopted a resolution earlier this month condemning "the excessive use of force" against Palestinians in clashes with Israeli forces.
But the resolution did not mention Sharon, whose visit to the Islamic sanctuary in Jerusalem immediately preceded the violence.
The Israeli human rights group B'tselem called for an inquiry into the violence that would look at both sides' conduct, in a statement from Jerusalem released Sunday – PARIS (AFP)
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