Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said Friday he hoped France would recognize an independent Palestinian state he hopes to proclaim by September 13th, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
In a message to French President Jacques Chirac on the occasion of Bastille Day, Arafat said the Palestinians are "sure that you and your country will be the first to recognize the independent Palestinian state."
"You have always been at the forefront in the defense of our national aspirations and rights," Arafat's massage said.
"As we share your joy on this occasion, we aspire to the day when you can share our joy at the fulfillment of an independent Palestinian soil ... with Jerusalem as its capital," it added.
Arafat praised France for its support of the Palestinians at "the hardest of times" during their struggle against Israeli occupation.
The central council of the Palestine Liberation Organization last week agreed to declare an independent state on September 13th, a deadline Israel and the Palestinians have set for reaching a final peace accord - GAZA CITY (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )