Netanyahu tells French PM he rejects French peace initiative

Israel's leader is giving a French peace initiative a cool reception in a meeting with the visiting French prime minister.

France is hosting an international conference in Paris in June aimed at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which collapsed in 2014. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his opposition to the conference on Monday, telling French Prime Minister Manuel Valls that "peace does not get achieved through international conferences." He says a conference is no substitute for direct negotiations, without preconditions, between the sides.

In a statement to reporters with Valls on Monday, Netanyahu said he would "clear my calendar" to attend a French peace initiative that would involve direct negotiations between him and the Palestinian president.

The Palestinians have welcomed the French proposal.