French envoy says 'nothing is automatic' for Mideast talks

France's foreign minister says the country would not automatically recognize a Palestinian state if the peace process fails.

In comments Wednesday during a visit to Cairo, Jean-Marc Ayrault appeared to walk back comments made by his predecessor Laurent Fabius that France would recognize a Palestinian state if a renewed push for peace negotiations failed.

Ayrault restated France's desire to hold an international peace conference, but added that, "There is no precondition."

France has for months been preparing to hold a conference that would bring together the two parties and their American, European and Arab partners to revive the peace process.

A spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the issue. Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the French proposal "baffling" and bound for failure.