French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that any recognition of Palestine as a state must be "helpful to peace" as part of a two-state solution, and not just symbolic.
A day after British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as a state in a highly symbolic and non-binding vote, Fabius said France would do so only "when the time is right".
"From the moment that we say there must be two states (Israel and Palestine), there will be a need for recognition of the Palestinian state, that goes without saying," Fabius told the lower house National Assembly.
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"The only question is what are the procedures and how to be most effective. What we want is not a symbolic issue but to be helpful to peace."
Fabius suggested that the "right time" he was referring to could come when all attempts at negotiation had been exhausted.
The debate follows the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and this year's conflict in Gaza in which more than 2,000 Palestinians and dozens of Israelis were killed.
The British vote came after Sweden announced it would recognise a new Palestinian state, a move criticised by Israel and the United States.
According to an AFP count, at least 112 countries around the world have recognised a Palestinian state. A Palestinian count puts the number at 134.