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Sarkozy Wants EU Consensus on Palestinian Statehood


But based on the member nations' vastly differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it could prove unrealistic.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is calling for a unified European voice regarding the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the United Nations in September.

"The role of the US is uncontested and irreplaceable, but everybody sees that it is not enough," Sarkozy said. "We have to widen the circle of negotiation, think of the role and the pertinence of the Quartet."

Sarkozy noted that while the "Arab Spring" brings with it great changes in the region, the world cannot continue to defer addressing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israel National News reports that, to now, most EU countries have refrained from committing on how they would vote on the resolution, saying it would depend on the verbiage and details of the resolution itself.

With a view to discussing the issues, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has scheduled an informal meeting of the EU’s 27 foreign ministers on September 2.

INN adds:

Sarkozy's comments have been criticized by some commentators as being driven by a desire for Arab trade - and to silence nations who dissent from his views - rather than principle, amid fears that France's triple-A credit rating could come under threat if the European sovereign debt crisis worsens.

The European Parliament's International trade committee voted 27-0 to fully open markets to farm and fish products from PA enclaves in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. The vote paved the way for full parliamentary approval for a deal later this year.

"This deal is enormously important. It gives more power to the Palestinians to trade directly with the EU. And it's a signal of good will from the international community that comes at an important time," said Maria Eleni Koppa, a Greek socialist lawmaker who led the committee's discussion on the issue.

The full European Parliament is due to vote on the trade agreement in late September.

As part of an economic agreement between Israel and the European Union (EU) to avoid total boycotting, labels distinguish between products made in pre-1967 Israel and products made in parts of Israel liberated during the Six Day War. Products made by Jews in Judea and Samaria are subject to higher tariffs.

INN notes that while the trade agreement will likely be approved, Sarkozy's desire for consensus on Palestinian statehood among the vastly differing member nations may prove untenable.

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