Netanyahu Calls for Direct Talks with Abbas in New York

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a meeting this week in New York with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to relaunch direct negotiations on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Mr. Netanyahu appealed to the Palestinian leader to open talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings and continue them in Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah.

His call on Monday to relaunch stalled talks comes as Mr. Abbas, who is already in New York for the U.N. meetings, prepares to submit a request for full membership in the world body for a Palestinian state – a move staunchly opposed by Israel and the United States.

Mr. Netanyahu flies to New York on Tuesday. He has said the Palestinians' U.N. bid is doomed to fail and that Palestinians would ultimately seek renewed talks.

U.S.-mediated peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians stalled a year ago, after an Israeli moratorium on West Bank settlement construction expired. Palestinians oppose construction on land they want as part of a future state.

Mr. Abbas has said a Palestinian state must have the borders that were in place before Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.