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French parliament calls on government to recognise Palestine

French Lawmakers have voted in favour of a resolution calling on the French Government to recognise the state of Palestine. The resolution was adopted today by 339 votes.

A total of 151 lawmakers voted against the resolution, which was proposed by the Socialist group.

The French Senate is expected to vote also on a similar resolution on Dec. 11.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France would recognise Palestine as a state if peace efforts failed.

"If this last attempt at negotiation does not succeed, France will assume its responsibilities by recognising the state of Palestine," Fabius said.

"France recognises the State of Palestine; it is not a favor, it is a right," he said.

"France is a friend of the Israeli people and the Palestinian people. France will recognize the state of Palestine. The question is when and how? Because it is necessary that this recognition should be useful to the efforts to break the deadlock and contribute to achieving a final settlement of this conflict, "he added.

Wave of recognition in Europe

Europe has lately been swept by a wave of support for Palestinian statehood even as the peace process between Palestinian and Israeli sides remains deadlocked.

The European Parliament had been scheduled to vote on a motion to recognize Palestine on Nov. 27, but because of disagreements over the wording of the motion, the decision was postponed until Dec.18, a European Parliament press release said.

The European Parliament resolution, which was proposed by the left-wing European United Left and the Socialists and Democrats parliamentary groups, is expected to pass, despite Israeli efforts to block it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said European recognition of a Palestinian state would be a big mistake for peace, but the EU officials disagree.

"We are the leading trade partner for Israel, and we are the leading donor for the Palestinian Authority," said EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

"We can be the leading political player in the region and we can facilitate dialogue that has to take place directly between the Israelis and the Palestinians," Mogherini said.

She added a Palestinian state could only exist if Israeli security was also guaranteed.

Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialists and Democrats parliamentary group, called on all EU member states to recognize Palestine.

Pittella said the recognition was absolutely in line with the decision taken by the UN General Assembly in 2012.

In October, Sweden became the first EU country to recognize Palestine.

The UK and Spanish parliaments, as well as the Irish Senate, have also all delivered non-binding endorsements, reflecting growing frustration with the sputtering Israel-Palestine peace process.

Denmark's lawmakers will debate a similar motion in December and other parliaments are expected to vote on similar resolutions in the coming weeks, including the Danish, Italian, Slovenian and Portuguese legislatures.

More than 130 countries have now recognized Palestine as a state.

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