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Israel's PM rejected secret US-pitched regional peace deal: reports

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-02-20 09:01

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned down a regional peace plan pitched to him by then US Secretary of States John Kerry last year, Israeli media reported Sunday.

Netanyahu participated in a meeting to discuss the plan in the Jordanian city of Aqaba in February 2016, which also included Jordan's King Abdullah II and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Ha'aretz newspaper reported.

Kerry offered a regional Arab recognition of Israel as a Jewish state -- a key demand of Netanyahu -- with a resumption of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians with the support of Arab countries.

According to Ha'aretz, which cited an unnamed former official in the Barack Obama administration, Netanyahu refused the proposal.

A spokesman for Netanyahu declined to comment on the report.

Israel's Ynet news site reported that in a meeting of ministers from his Likud party, also on Sunday, Netanyahu confirmed he participated in the secret meeting.

The last round of peace talks between Israel and Palestine reached an impasse in April 2014 over Israel's continuous expansion of the West Bank settlements and the unity government between Fatah and Hamas. The US-sponsored talks that lasted for nine months achieved no tangible results.

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