France

Palestinian President Abbas arrives in Paris

AFP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Paris on Sunday for a two-day visit, the day a moratorium on Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory is due to expire, endangering peace talks.

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Abbas is due to meet Jewish community representatives on Sunday, when he will encourage French Jews to play a positive role in the peace process, according to his spokesman.

On Monday, Abbas will meet President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister François Fillon. Abbas will discuss international efforts to persuade Israel to extend its settlement freeze, his spokesman said.

France is one of several countries to have put pressure on Israel to extend its settlement freeze. Palestinian negotiators have threatened to walk away from direct peace talks if the freeze is not extended.

"I think it is truly necessary to tell the Israeli authorities that the world will not understand if a gesture is not made towards those who are the best proponents of peace,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told AFP on Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it is not planning to extend the moratorium, though it adds that it is ready to compromise.

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