Last-ditch peace effort? President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas met Thursday in Italy, which marks the 150th anniversary of the country's unification.
During a festive event in Rome to mark the occasion, the two leaders discussed the peace process and possible ways to revive negotiations, which have been stalled for some time now, between the sides.
Peres and Abbas in Italy (Photo: AP)
Meanwhile, France initiated its own peace move earlier in the day, proposing a conference in Paris this summer while threatening to endorse Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September should the diplomatic process continue to face an impasse.
Officials at the president's office sought to maintain discretion as to the details of the Peres-Abbas meeting and refused to confirm whether the two spoke alone, but diplomatic sources hinted that such conversation indeed took place.
Earlier, Peres met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who told Abbas that he supports Palestinian statehood but added that the matter is up to the General Assembly.
Peres and Abbas have maintained ongoing ties away from the limelight, similar to the relationship between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Prime Minister Salem Fayyad. Meanwhile, Abbas and Netanyahu only speak on holidays, or to offer their well-wishes to each other on various occasions.
Ronen Medzini and Roee Nahmias contributed to the story
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