French president Nicolas Sarkozy
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Sarkozy urges timetable on peace for Israel and Palestinians

Barack Obama has told the UN General Assembly the Palestinians deserve their own state, but that this would only be achieved through talks with Israel.

The US president's speech came as diplomatic efforts for Palestinian UN membership intensified and while thousands rallied in the West Bank.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested a compromise, offering the Palestinians observer status at the UN rather than the full membership they are set to request.

He said the Israelis and Palestinians should be given a clear timeline with a month to start negotiations, six months to deal with borders and security and a year to finalise a "definitive agreement".

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