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Netanyahu Asks Int'l Community for Help in Starting Talks With Palestine

© AP Photo / Gali Tibbon, PoolIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Sputnik International
Israeli Prime Minister asked the international community for assistance in restarting direct talks with Palestine on conflict settlement.

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – Speaking before foreign diplomats, Netanyahu reiterated that he was ready to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas anywhere.

"You cannot make peace with anyone who refuses to sit down with you <…> It’s about time," Netanyahu said Thursday as quoted by The Jerusalem Post newspaper.

Last month, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced that ministers of 20 countries would take part in a meeting in Paris on May 30 aiming to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Neither Israeli nor Palestinian officials will be attending the event.

Israeli soldiers stand guard at the Gush Etzion junction in the Israeli occupied West Bank on the main road between Jerusalem and Hebron on January 5, 2016 - Sputnik International
Israeli Soldiers Burn Palestinian Flag in Front of Hundreds in West Bank
Netanyahu rejected the initiative, claiming it would only distance the sides.

In late January, Ayrault's predecessor, Laurent Fabius, outlined plans to arrange an international conference in the coming months to help resume the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks, stressing that France would be prepared to recognize Palestinian statehood if the talks yielded no results amid the new wave of violence in the region in late 2015.

Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition of their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 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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