Netanyahu rejects French-convened international peace summit

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a French proposal for a Middle East peace conference suggesting instead direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

He urged that his counterpart drop his offer to host a summit conference of at least 20 countries in Paris, beginning June 3, to attempt to restart the Middle East peace process. “Direct negotiations are the only way to achieve peace,” Netanyahu said. “We will not achieve it through a U.N.-style international conference, or diktats from the international community regarding our security. Peace can only be achieved through direct negotiations, in which the Palestinians have to decide whether they recognize the state of Israel or continue to hope that it will vanish. We want two states for two peoples and a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the Jewish state.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah dismissed an Israeli proposal for direct negotiations instead of a French multilateral peace initiative.Hamdallah said:
“Time is short,” . “Netanyahu is trying to buy time… but this time he will not escape the international community.”

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