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Israel's Netanyahu gives conditional 'No' to meeting Palestinian president in Paris

Reuters

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that he had told French President Francois Hollande that he would not meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas if France pushed ahead with an international peace conference in Paris later this month.

France has been trying to convince Netanyahu to meet with Abbas in Paris, in an effort to revive moribund peace talks between the two sides, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday. Netanyahu has said he would only participate in direct talks.

"Netanyahu told Hollande that if there will not be an international conference in Paris, he will come to meet Abu Mazen (Abbas) for direct talks without preconditions. Israel will not participate in an international conference that will not contribute to achieving peace," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

(Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Larry King)

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