France confirmed on Friday that it would abstain in a Security Council vote on full Palestinian membership of the United Nations, said Deputy Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal.

“France reiterates its consistent proposal to envisage for Palestine, at this stage, the status of non-member observer state through a U.N. General Assembly vote that would be another step towards admission,” said Mr. Nadal.

“While the region is seeing upheavals, the legitimacy of the Palestinian desire for a state is indisputable. The Palestinian demand however has no chance of achieving anything at the Security Council notably because of the United States' stated opposition.

“France... has warned the international community of the risks of confrontation and blockage that such a move could have.

“That's why yesterday France's permanent representative at the United Nations said that France would have no choice but to abstain at the Security Council,” said Mr. Nadal.

The declaration confirmed what France, along with Britain and Colombia, reportedly told the Security Council at a closed-door hearing on Thursday, namely that they would abstain in any eventual Palestinian vote.

Adding pressure

The promised abstentions on top of the U.S. threat to veto such a resolution adds to pressure on the Palestinians to find an alternative way to press their case for greater international recognition.

France fears a diplomatic disaster for the Palestinians in any vote at the U.N. Security Council, with a U.N. diplomat saying that France wanted to send the message to “stop the train before the train wreck”.

French envoys had told Palestinian counterparts in New York that they feared the campaign could inspire violence and they did not understand the Palestinian strategy in seeking U.N. membership.


Rival Palestinian leaders meet in CairoNovember 24, 2011

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