00:40 GMT +322 September 2019
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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem October 8, 2015.

    Netanyahu Suggests Israel-Palestine Talks Instead of Int'l Conference

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    Paris should host direct negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian leaders rather that a multilateral conference on the issue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In April, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that the ministers of 20 countries would take part in a meeting in Paris to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials will be attending the event scheduled for June 3.

    “Direct negotiations are the only way to achieve peace. We will not achieve it through a UN-style international conference, or diktats from the international community regarding our security," Netanyahu told French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Jerusalem, as quoted by the Haaretz newspaper.

    The Israeli prime minister urged his French interlocutor instead to advance direct negotiations with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

    “If you want to advance peace, help us open direct negotiations with Abbas. There is another initiative that could take place in Paris that could be called a French initiative. The difference would be that I sit alone, directly, with President Abbas in Paris," he pointed out.

    In May, Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Abdel Hafiz Nofal told Sputnik that Palestine welcomes the French plan to hold international ministerial Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations but has some concerns over the participating sides.

    Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. Israel has been building settlements on the occupied territories despite objection from the United Nations.

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