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China offers to broker Abbas-Netanyahu meeting

(JTA) — China offered to broker a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will both be in Beijing next week on separate visits.

“If the leaders of Palestine and Israel have the will to meet in China, China is willing to offer necessary assistance,” Hua Chunying, the spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying Friday by Xinhua news agency.

The United States is pressing the sides to revive peace talks and has asked the international community to facilitate such a meeting.

Abbas has made a settlement freeze a precondition for talks, a condition Netanyahu rejects.

The party-run People’s Daily noted that Netanyahu’s visit marked the first time an Israeli prime minister chose China as his first foreign post-election trip. Netanyahu was re-elected prime minister in elections in January.

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