Netanyahu calls for talks with Abbas over UN bid



Netanyahu calls for talks with Abbas over UN bid New York: Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu has called for talks with the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

The call came as Abbas, who is in New York for the annual UN General Assembly, prepared to submit a request for membership in the UN in a move opposed by Israel and the US.

"The Prime Minister is interested in a meeting with the president of the Palestinian Authority in New York," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

"I call on the president of the Palestinian Authority to open up direct negotiations in New York and that they resume in Jerusalem and in Ramallah," it added.

Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet American President Barack Obama later this week. Israel and the US insist that only direct negotiations can resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak arrived at the Pentagon on Monday for talks with his US counterpart Leon Panetta. They are expected to discuss the possibility of renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians as well as the recent storming of the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

Peace talks between Israel and Palestinians ground to a halt in September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a partial freeze on settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Since then, the Palestinians have refused to return to talks as long as Israel builds on occupied territory. The Palestinians say they are going to the UN out of frustration with the deadlock in the peace process.

Bureau Report