China offers to broker Abbas-Netanyahu meeting

Both leaders will be in Beijing next week on separate visits; Israeli officials says a meeting in China is very unlikely.

Netanyahu, Abbas 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Netanyahu, Abbas 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
China on Friday offered to broker a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas while the two are in the Asian country next week.
Netanyahu and Abbas will be in Beijing next week on separate visits, each at the invitation of the government.
"If the leaders of Palestine and Israel have the will to meet in China, China is willing to offer necessary assistance," Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman of China's foreign ministry, was quoted as saying Friday by Xinhua news agency.
Israeli officials stated that it is very unlikely that the leaders will meet in China.
The United States is pressing the sides to revive peace talks and has asked the international community to facilitate such a meeting.
Abbas has set as a precondition the freezing of settlement building, which Netanyahu rejects.
The party-run People's Daily noted in reporting the visits that this was the first time an Israeli prime minister chose China as his first foreign post-election visit.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet the top Chinese leadership during a five-day trip beginning Sunday that will take him to Shanghai, the country’s commercial capital, and Beijing. The trip marks the first visit of an Israeli prime minister to China since Ehud Olmert visited in 2007.