France will abstain in a vote at the United Nations Security Council on full UN membership for Palestine, the foreign ministry in Paris confirmed Friday in a statement, dpa reported.
The announcement ended speculation about France's position, following France's surprise "Yes" on Monday to Palestine being given membership of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.
The foreign ministry said the decision to abstain from a vote on full UN membership was in line with President Nicolas Sarkozy's proposal that Palestine be given observer state status at the world body instead of membership.
Britain, which abstained from the UNESCO vote, has indicated it also plans to abstain.
A vote could take place as early as November 11, after the council committee considering the application issues its report.
The application had been doomed to fail since the United States said it would use its veto in the council, if necessary, to bar a Palestinian state being given full UN membership.
A France abstention would mean that the US would probably be saved the embarrassment of using its veto, as the Palestinians would struggle to garner a two-thirds majority of the council's 15 members without the French.