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France Looking for Successor to P.A. Head Mahmoud Abbas: Report

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt. Ahmad HASSAN / AFP
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt. Ahmad HASSAN / AFP

Concerned by the current impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, French President Emmanuel Macron reportedly would like to start looking for a successor for the Palestinian Authority's (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn 88 in March.

The report came shortly after Macron received Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris amid a new outbreak of deadly violence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. According to the French daily Le Figaro, the "President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, 87, clings to his power, postponing any new legislative elections for fear that his party will lose them."

A source close to Macron said that the president tasked "five former and current consul generals of France in Jerusalem, five former and current French ambassador to Tel Aviv, and five former and current bosses of the DGSE (external intelligence services) to establish, each on their side, a list of two names of Palestinians” who could succeed Abbas.

One diplomat said there were difficulties in finding an alternative to Abbas because Palestinians who are not part of the current political establishment in Ramallah were reluctant to take the position due to fear that internal divisions in the PA will hinder them.

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