Pales­tinian PM dis­misses Ne­tanyahu’s di­rect talks pro­posal

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

GAZA—Pales­tinian prime min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah on Wed­nes­day 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.—Agen­cies

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