Palestinian PM: Palestinian Issues Sparking Unrest

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PARIS (AP) - Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Thursday that the failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has helped fuel unrest in Egypt and elsewhere in the Mideast.

During a visit to Paris, Fayyad said protesters' complaints stem not only from internal problems in their own societies, but also from "a frustration, a desperation because of the failure of efforts to solve the Palestinian problem."

Fayyad spoke during a news conference with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon. Later Thursday, Fayyad is scheduled to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and to attend dinner talks on a follow up conference to a 2007 donor event in Paris that raised $7.7 billion in Palestinian aid pledges.

Fillon said France would be willing to host a new conference in June on the condition it includes a "political dimension, beyond financial and economic aid," - a major step on the road to the creation of a Palestinian state in 2011, he added.

Fayyad's visit, which ends Friday, came amid continuing clashes in central Cairo between anti-government protesters and backers of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak has been a major player in the Mideast peace process. He is considered Israel's bridge to the Arab world, and has also been a mediator in talks with the Palestinians. Some observers fear the flux in Egypt could damage efforts to create a Palestinian state.

Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has only recently accepted the idea of an independent Palestinian state next to Israel.


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