Israel will not participate in an international summit in Paris, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande Wednesday night – but Netanyahu said that he would meet in Paris with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas if the summit was cancelled. Netanyahu stressed that he was available to meet with Abbas “anywhere and at any time”, if the talks were direct, and no preconditions were imposed.
France has scheduled the summit for December 21st, and plans to invite as many as 50 foreign ministers and other diplomats. The purpose of the summit is to “energize” the Middle East peace process, Israeli media reports quoted French government officials Wednesday. Abbas and Netanyahu would be invited to attend as well, but the purpose of the summit is to develop a plan that France and the European Union can promote, outlining objectives and goals France and the EU would seek to impose on Israelis and Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s office said in a statement that the Prime Minister had told Hollande that he did not believe the summit would advance the peace process. “Israel will not participate in an international summit that will not contribute to achieving peace,” and unless the summit included an element of direct talks without preconditions between Abbas and Netanyahu, the summit would not achieve that, he told the French leader.