Netanyahu to meet Kerry in Rome to discuss peace talks
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Netanyahu to meet Kerry in Rome to discuss peace talks

PM, US secretary of state to rendezvous next week amid growing international pressure to restart negotiations with Palestinians

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US Secretary of State John Kerry speak to the press during a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015. (AFP/Pool/Atef Safadi)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and US Secretary of State John Kerry speak to the press during a meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 24, 2015. (AFP/Pool/Atef Safadi)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome amid growing international pressure for the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s office said Wednesday that the prime minister will meet Kerry early next week, without providing further details.

The two are set to discuss resuming talks with the Palestinians that collapsed two years ago.

Netanyahu faces mounting pressure over the conflict with the Palestinians. He opposes a French initiative, insisting a deal can only be reached in direct negotiations between the two sides. Palestinians have welcomed the French initiative.

On Monday a meeting of the EU’s 28 foreign ministers in Brussels unanimously endorsed the French plan to host an international peace process later this year.

Israel has repeatedly rejected the French initiative, arguing that it hardens Palestinian negotiating positions and thus distances peace.

The Quartet of Mideast mediators — the UN, US, European Union and Russia — are finalizing a report on the conflict expected to be critical of Israel.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014 amid mutual recriminations.

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