Netanyahu Mulls Canceling Trip to Paris Conference, Where He Was Said to Meet Putin

The Paris Peace Forum will be attended by 60 world leaders, including Putin and Trump. Sources in Netanyahu's office say the schedule is too tight for side meetings between participating leaders

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to shake hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 7, 2016.
Maxim Shipenkov / AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering canceling his trip to the Paris Peace Forum because the schedule doesn't allow for personal meetings between participating leaders.

A diplomatic source previously said that Netanyahu may meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Paris convention.

French President Emmanuel Macron will host 60 world leaders November 11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and to launch an initiative to improve international cooperation and governance.

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Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that the structure of the conference, the tight schedule and the absence of side rooms create conditions not conducive for side meeting between leaders.

United States President Donald Trump is also expected to participate in the conference.

Israel Television News Company correspondent, Amnon Abramovitz, reported yesterday that Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros's organization, Open Society, is among the donors to the conference. Both Trump and Netanyahu have been vocal critics of Soros in recent years.

French sources told Haaretz that the conference's schedule is indeed tight but that they "have no objection to, or influence over, leaders meeting."

Fifteen Russian airmen were killed in September when the Ilyushin 20 airplane was mistakenly shot down by Syria's air defenses soon after an Israeli strike near the coastal Syrian city of Latakia.

Israel blamed the incident on Syrian recklessness, while the Russian embassy in Israel said the Air Force's actions were "irresponsible and unfriendly" and exposed the downed plane to danger.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed to meet for the first time.