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French President invites Netanyahu to meet Abbas in Paris

French head of state set to meet with Israel's Prime Minister and Palestinian President later this month

    French President Francois Hollande
    French President Francois Hollande

    French President Francois Hollande has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Paris in two weeks' time.

    Israeli officials confirmed French press reports which said Mr Netanyahu had been invited to a meeting after a Paris foreign ministers ‘summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    However Israel has already told France it opposes the summit and will not attend it.

    French newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro reported that Mr Hollande wants to hold a meeting of foreign ministers in Paris on December 21 to deal with the impasse in the peace process.

    Despite Israel’s rejection of the meeting, the French decided to continue the summit without Israeli and Palestinian representatives and instead opted to invite leaders from both sides to a tripartite meeting with Mr Hollande soon after.

    Mr Abbas has already confirmed he is willing to attend the meeting, while Israel has not yet officially responded to the French invitation.

    Mr Netanyahu has stressed several times that he would be willing to meet Mr Abbas anywhere and anytime without preconditions.

    It has been reported Mr Hollande hopes the prime minister will be receptive to the invitation.

    According to Le Figaro the summit is to be a chance to develop a joint statement calling on the protection of the two-state solution, and the need to reach a conclusion based on the pre-1967 lines.

    Some 30 to 50 foreign ministers from different countries have been invited to the summit, which may be rescheduled for December 22 or December 23 to allow as many of them as possible to participate.

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