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Sunday Oct. 17, 2010 4:57 PM (EST+7)
New date sought for Paris peace summit - Israel

Read more: Paris, peace talks, settlements

JERUSALEM, 16 Oct (Ori Lewis/Reuters) - A planned Israeli-Palestinian summit due to be held in Paris by the end of the month has been rescheduled, the Israeli prime minister's office said on Saturday, a sign of increased strain over stalled peace talks.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to meet before the end of October, although an exact date for the summit had not been set.

Following joint consultations it has been agreed to set a new date for the preparatory meeting, a statement from Netanyahu's office said, adding there was no chance of holding it on Oct 21, which was previously thought to be possible.

We are looking for a new date that works for everybody, although there is nothing firm scheduled yet, an Israeli government official told Reuters.

The talks were intended to prepare for a summit in late November of leaders from European and Mediterranean countries including Middle East players, Sarkozy said when he announced his invitation at the end of September.

It would have been a first face-to-face meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas since the two restarted direct peace talks backed by the United States in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Sept 2 -- talks that have since reached a standstill.

The Palestinians called off the direct talks when a 10-month Israeli freeze on new home building in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank expired at the end of September.







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