Palestinian PM in Paris to boost peace effort
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad is to meet his French counterpart François Fillon and President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on Thursday in a bid to boost the flagging Middle East peace process. A dinner in the evening at the foreign ministry will be attended by top European Union foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.
The dinner is to review progress following a 2007 conference at which international donors promised 5,6 billion euros in aid to the Palestinians over three years.
Last month, Sarkozy said that Europe could not continue to pay while being kept out of the political process.
France and other donors are said to want to see some progress in the drive for a sovereign Palestinian state in return for their support.
Foreign ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, described the meeting as an economic conference aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state by the end of 2011.
The last attempt to move the peace process forward by the US broke down late last year due to a dispute over Jewish settlement-building on Palestinian land.
France is hoping the Palestinian prime minister's visit will bring both sides back to the negotiating table with a bigger role for the EU.
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