Israel says Paris Mideast summit postponed

16th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A planned October 21 summit in Paris between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been postponed, the premier's office said on Saturday.

"Following consultations, the parties concerned have agreed to decide on another date," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

On Friday the French presidency had raised the possibility of the meeting previously announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy not going ahead next Thursday as planned, following the suspension of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Earlier on Saturday, the French foreign ministry said it was "deeply disappointed" with Israel's plans to resume building homes for settlers in east Jerusalem, and urged Netanyahu's government to reconsider.

"This decision is inopportune. France is deeply disappointed," ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said in a statement. "France calls on the Israeli authorities to reconsider this decision."

On Friday, Israel announced plans to build 238 new homes in east Jerusalem, provoking anger from the Palestinian Authority and criticism from its key ally the United States.

US-brokered direct peace talks launched in early September ground to a halt within weeks after the expiry of a 10-month moratorium on the construction of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

Abbas has refused to hold further negotiations while settlement construction in the West Bank continues, and last week Arab League foreign ministers gave US negotiators a month to try to resolve the impasse.

© 2010 AFP

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