Abbas Rejects Netanyahu's Offer to Meet

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RAMALLAH, West Bank - In a joint press conference in Ramallah with Romanian President Traian Basescu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "unless all Jewish West Bank construction is halted."

Basescu told reporters he backed Abbas.

On Saturday, an Egyptian newspaper quoted Abbas as saying that peace with Israel would happen only if Israel retreated to pre-1967 territory, agreed to the right of return for Arab refugees and their descendents into Israel and the PA received territorial contiguity between the Gaza Strip and West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

Abbas was responding to Netanyahu's invitation at Sunday's Cabinet meeting, held in Beersheva, to restart the diplomatic process.

"There is no reason why we can't meet anywhere in Israel to get the diplomatic process going, even right here in Beersheva," Netanyahu said.

"I call on Palestinian leaders and Arab countries," the prime minister said.

"Let's meet. Let's cooperate. We have the ability to bring many players on board," he said.

"We are making efforts to ease the lives of Palestinians, but all these efforts can only bring us to a certain point," Netanyahu said.

Abbas reiterated his call to U.S. President Barack Obama to pressure Israel to meet the PA demands.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, israel national news

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