Rivlin to Samantha Power: Tell Abbas direct talks are urgent
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Rivlin to Samantha Power: Tell Abbas direct talks are urgent

Ahead of visiting US envoy’s meetings in Ramallah, president says PA chief must understand ‘the tragedy between us can only be solved through direct negotiations’

President Reuven Rivlin meets with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at the president's residence in Jerusalem on February 15, 2016. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin meets with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at the president's residence in Jerusalem on February 15, 2016. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Israel’s president told Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, to send a message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: Direct talks are the only way to end their conflict.

Power, making her first visit to Israel as UN envoy, arrived on Saturday. Her four days in the area will include visits with Palestinian Authority leaders; she met on her first day with Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.

On Monday, Power met separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

Rivlin called Power “a bridge between very decisive voices in the world, and we welcome you as one who can bridge gaps and as a real friend.”

He also said: “I know that you are meeting the Palestinians, and I would ask to transfer once again a message to President Abbas, that he must understand the conflict between us — the tragedy between us — can only be solved through direct negotiations. No solution can be imposed on either side, and we must negotiate to come to an understanding.”

Netanyahu told Power there is a direct connection between Palestinian incitement in schools and the media and the latest wave of terrorism and violence, and called on the international community to demand that the PA stop the incitement, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

During a speech to Israeli high school students later Monday, Power slammed the United Nations for its disproportionate criticism of Israel. “Bias has extended well beyond Israel as a country, Israel as an idea,” she said.

She also spoke in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and said she hoped to see an official state of Palestine at the United Nations during her tenure.

On Sunday, Power visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

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