|Date: 04/06/2012 Time: 04:18:00 PM
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas is to
pay a three-day visit to the French capital beginning Wednesday to hold talks
here with senior officials at the highest level, diplomatic sources said.
The sources, knowledgeable about the visit, told KUNA that the finishing
touches were being put to the programme but that Abbas would certainly see
President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
The sources also indicated that talks would be held with Foreign Minister
The Elysee Palace could not confirm the visit but there has been
speculation for some time that the
Palestinian leader was expected here. The Foreign Ministry here also
declined to comment, but the diplomatic sources indicated to KUNA that the
visit was definitely on.
The visit comes at a crucial time for the region, given the situation in
Syria and Lebanon, where violence and tensions are on the rise.
Hollande has said he wants to see movement on the Israeli-Palestinian peace
process, which has been stalled for some time.
Analysts here say that given the broad coalition in the Israeli government
at this time, with most political factions represented there, it could be a
time to push for a broadly-backed initiative from Israel.
Nonetheless, Israel has continued with its illegal settlement policy, which
France has regularly condemned, and recent destructions of Arab homes in the
West Bank - ostensibly for not having a legal permit - have increased tensions.
Abbas is likely to call on Hollande to take a strong position on the need
for restraint on the Israeli side - particularly on settlements - and on the
necessity of resuming talks on a clear and specific agenda that would lead to
the establishment of a viable Palestinian State.