Abbas to meet Hollande to discuss French push for Israeli-Palestinian peace


(JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet French President Francois Hollande in Paris later this month to discuss France’s recent push to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

Abbas will have an “important meeting” with Hollande to talk about “convening an international peace conference in accordance with the French initiative,” Palestinian Authority presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Abu Rudeineh told the French news agency AFP on Wednesday.

The Palestinian leader will also meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Moscow during a trip beginning on April 15 to discuss the “evolution of the political situation in Palestine and the region,” Abu Rudeineh said. Abbas will then meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany in Berlin before heading to New York to attend United Nations meetings.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault angered Israel in January for threatening to recognize a Palestinian state if a Paris-hosted conference failed to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Ayrault backtracked on his statements last month, saying the conference would not “automatically” spur any action.

“There is never anything automatic,” he said.

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