Palestinian PM Dismisses Netanyahu’s Direct Talks Proposal

Rami Hamdallah

RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) –  Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah (pictured) on Tuesday dismissed an Israeli proposal for direct negotiations instead of a French multilateral peace initiative, calling it an attempt to “buy time”.

Hamdallah made the comments as he met French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has held talks in Israel and the Palestinian territories this week to push Paris’s peace initiative.

“Time is short,” Hamdallah said. “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is trying to buy time… but this time he will not escape the international community.”

Netanyahu has rejected the plan and called for direct negotiations.

Valls told Netanyahu when he met him on Monday that he would discuss his proposal with French President Francois Hollande, but he has insisted that Paris plans to stick with its approach.

The French initiative involves holding a meeting of foreign ministers from a range of countries on June 3, but without the Israelis and Palestinians present.

An international conference would then be held in the autumn, with the Israelis and Palestinians in attendance. The goal is to eventually relaunch negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state.

Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.


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