"We were supposed to get the document, not a final result but something, before the end of the year. But now we all know it will take a little bit longer," Kouchner told reporters in the West Bank town of
"I don't know if we will see the Palestinian state before the end of the year, but I know this is absolutely a key and necessary -- we will get the Palestinian state."
Kouchner made the remarks after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the start of a two-day visit to
Negotiations have made little progress since they were formally relaunched to great fanfare after a seven-year hiatus, with the two sides remaining deeply divided on the thorniest issues of the decades-old conflict.
On Sunday Kouchner will meet outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is seeking to form a new coalition government following her election last month to head the ruling Kadima party.
Kouchner will urgently renew a call to
The minister also intends to stress to his Israeli hosts the importance of freezing Jewish settlements in the
Kouchner joined Fayyad on a visit to Jenin, once a hotbed of militant violence and now the focus of a widening security crackdown in the West Bank that has been praised by
The visit follows a meeting in New York last week of the Mideast Quartet (Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union) in which the group urged Israel and the Palestinians to seal a peace deal this year.
Negotiators have expressed hope that if a deal is not reached the next
"The current (
The minister also hopes to check on the results of the
Since then $1.4 billion in direct budgetary support has been paid to the Palestinian Authority, according to French government figures.