Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sarkozy: EU needs united position on Palestinian statehood

"French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday he wanted to see a united European Union voice on the issue of Palestinian statehood at next month's United Nations General Assembly and urged the United States to do more for peace.

"The 27 countries of the European Union must express themselves with one voice," Sarkozy said in an opening speech to an annual conference of French ambassadors.

"The role of the U.S. is uncontested and irreplaceable, but everybody sees that it is not enough. We have to widen the circle of negotiation, think of the role and pertinence of the quartet.
Sarkozy said the world could not continue to leave the Israel-Palestinian peace process frozen while the Arab Spring forces change elsewhere in the region.

Also on Wednesday, the EU moved closer to a trade deal with the Palestinian Authority after unanimous backing from European lawmakers to fully open markets to farm and fish products from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The 27-0 vote by the European Parliament's international trade committee paves the way for full parliamentary approval for a deal later this year, signalling EU support for the PA as it prepares for its statehood bid next month."

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