In meetings with senior Palestinian officials on Wednesday, French officials renewed commitment to supporting the Palestinian Authority.
French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine met with Palestinian Planning and International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath to discuss the French proposal to proclaim a Palestinian state and hold rapid elections before addressing security issues, which Israeli has set as its priority. France’s ideas have been rejected by Israel and have only received lukewarm consideration by the United States.
Shaath said that the Palestinian side agreed with and supported "in principle" the French proposals, which he said could make a positive contribution.
"We agreed to study these proposals in detail," Shaath was quoted by agencies as saying.
He said that security would come out of the political discussions and not the other way round. "The problem in Palestine is not security but, firstly, a political one which has been aggravated by the escalation of (Israeli prime minister Ariel) Sharon,” Shaath said.
He added that “total peace” is the right of both peoples and they both have security needs and this was totally understandable.
Meanwhile, France announced Wednesday that it was extending 7.14 million euros in cooperation financing for the year 2002. The financing will be spread among a variety of sectors, like health, water, education, refugees and the building of institutions.
Commenting the budget allocation, Shaath said that he really felt this as a sign of support from France, which has also committed to building the Gaza port, which has been the target of Israeli attacks in the past months. (Albawaba.com)
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