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Israel PM Netanyahu calls Paris peace conference ‘rigged’

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this weekend’s Middle East peace conference in Paris “rigged” on Thursday, with his government refusing to play any role in the meeting.

“It’s a rigged conference, rigged by the Palestinians with French auspices to adopt additional anti-Israel stances,” Netanyahu said while meeting Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende.

“This pushes peace backwards. It’s not going to obligate us. It’s a relic of the past. It’s a last gasp of the past before the future sets in.”

Sunday’s conference to be attended by some 70 nations is aimed at exploring ways to restart long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Israel rejects the conference and calls for bilateral talks.

The Palestinians have welcomed the multilateral approach, saying years of negotiations have not ended Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

PTI