France accuses allies of 'political positioning' in recognising Palestinian state

France's Stephane Sejourne implied recognition of a Palestinian state should be 'diplomatically useful' (Ludovic MARIN)
France's Stephane Sejourne implied recognition of a Palestinian state should be 'diplomatically useful' (Ludovic MARIN)

France's foreign minister Wednesday accused fellow EU members Spain and Ireland of having recognised Palestinian statehood as part of "political positioning", instead of seeking a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Spain, Ireland and Norway on Tuesday officially recognised the State of Palestine, sparking a furious response from Israel.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the same day he would be prepared to recognise a Palestinian state, but such a move should "come at a useful moment" and not be based on "emotion".

Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne told senators that France was "in favour of a two-state solution", under which the states of Israel and Palestine would coexist in peace.

"By definition, the issue of recognition will of course come into that. But the concern now -- which I have clearly shared with my Spanish and Irish counterparts -- is what happens the day after recognition: How diplomatically useful is it?" he said.

"France is not involved in any political positioning, it is looking for diplomatic solutions to this crisis," Sejourne added.

"It is unfortunate that a certain number of European states put political positioning first in the context of campaigning for the European elections, which does not solve anything."

European Parliament elections are due to be held next week.

"Tell me, what exactly has the Spanish recognition changed a day later in Gaza? Nothing!" the foreign minister said.

The latest Gaza war was sparked by Palestinian militant group Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,171 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

The Israeli military says 292 soldiers have been killed in the Gaza military campaign since the start of the ground offensive on October 27.