Israel rejects Paris summit, open to talk with Palestinians

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2016 1:42 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected an invitation for an international conference in Paris aimed at reviving the peace process, but expressed willingness to meet privately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande Wednesday that Israel won't attend "as it does not contribute toward reaching peace." However Netanyahu said he was willing to meet Abbas in Paris for "direct talks without preconditions."

Netanyahu has repeatedly called on Abbas to meet for direct talks. Abbas has refused unless Israel ends settlement construction.

The Palestinians have welcomed the French initiative set for later this month. A French diplomat, speaking anonymously according to protocol, confirmed invitations were sent, but gave no further details.

The last round of peace talks, mediated by the U.S., collapsed in 2014.