French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, stated Friday that he intends to pressure Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, into altering his decision regarding not running for president in the upcoming Palestinian elections. Abbas made his decision in an official statement on Thursday. Kouchner called on Abbas to resume his role and to maintain his efforts to achieve peace in the region. He also declared General and Presidential elections would be held in January 2010.

The statements of Kouchner came during a press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmad Davutoğlu.

“The generation of Abbas is the generation that can make peace”, Kouchner said, “Unfortunately, the peace process is obstructed today, we consider this a danger to peace, a danger to us too”.

The French FM said that he would be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming days, but did not reveal exact date of his trip.

He was supposed to visit the Israel and the Palestinian territories several weeks ago but had to delay due to organizational issues between his country and Israel. He instead visited Lebanon.

Kouchner stated that he will insist that Abbas runs for president and to continue his efforts towards establishing an independent Palestinian state.

He further said that he believes Israel must halt its settlement activities, and that the peace process must be resumed.

Hamas movement, the rival of Abbas’ Fateh movement, slammed the decision and considered it political bankruptcy.

The movement said that elections should not be held without achieving national unity and ending all internal rifts and divisions.