Official: Israeli leader to meet Orange chief to discuss firm's plans to exit country

An Israeli official says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to meet French telecom giant Orange's chief executive over the CEO's recent comments on pulling out of Israel.

The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement, says the meeting will take place Friday.

CEO Stephane Richard caused an uproar in Israel last week after announcing he wanted to sever business ties with Israel as soon as possible, citing a desire to improve business ties in the Arab world.

Richard has since tried to backtrack, telling a French TV station this week that there was no boycott and that he is "radically opposed to all forms of discrimination."

But he said he is sticking by his business decision to end the relationship with Israel's Partner Communications Ltd.