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Netanyahu Tells Palestinian Leader He Wants Peace Talks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he hopes to hold peace talks with the Palestinian leader in the near future.

A statement Sunday from the prime minister's office says Mr. Abbas had called Mr. Netanyahu to pass along his wishes on the Jewish Passover Holiday. The prime minister's office says Mr. Netanyahu spoke of past cooperation and discussions between the two leaders, and told Mr. Abbas he intends to pursue similar talks in the future.

The conversation was the first between the two since Mr. Netanyahu was elected prime minister earlier this year. The prime minister's office said the conversation was warm and amicable.

No date for future talks was discussed.

The conversation between the two leaders comes one day after foreign ministers from five Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority met in Jordan to discuss Arab unity on the Middle East peace process.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh says the meeting Saturday in Amman was aimed at stressing Arab commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Officials at the meeting also said they remain committed to a Saudi initiative on Arab-Israeli peace proposed in 2002. The plan calls for normalizing ties with Israel in exchange for its withdrawal from all land captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has yet to endorse the idea of Palestinian statehood since taking office.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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