Abbas denies Palestinians refused peace talks with Israel

September 21, 2018 GMT

PARIS (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied U.S. claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.

Abbas’ denial came after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday. Abbas asked Macron to pass the message onto U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.

Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations as the Israelis claim,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks.”

Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American (funding) gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.