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Report: Abbas, Peres held secret talks

May 29, 2011 11:33 A.M. (Updated: May 30, 2011 12:50 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas held secret talks with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres in April, Israeli media reported Friday.

Abbas and Peres met in London to try and revive the stalled peace process, the Hebrew-language daily Ma'ariv reported.

Since the meeting, the two have spoken on the telephone on secure lines, the report added.

Quoting a source close to the Israeli president, the newspaper said Peres was horrified that the talks had been exposed.

"President Peres is the last Israeli who continues to enjoy a direct channel of dialogue with the Palestinians," the source told Ma'ariv.

"It is highly unfortunate that this channel will be sealed due to being made public."

The report did not detail the agenda of the alleged meeting.

Peres, whose position is largely ceremonial, is regarded as an elder statesman of Israeli politics. He held talks with US President Barack Obama in the White House in April.

Peace talks stalled in September when Israel resumed settlement construction after a partial moratorium had been in place for ten months. Requests that the moratorium be extended were refused, and Palestinian negotiators walked away from talks saying the continued building of Jewish-only housing on occupied Palestinian land showed Israel was not serious about making peace, and realizing a Palestinian state.

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