Germany urges Israel to halt settlement plan
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany urged Israel on Monday to refrain from expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem but said a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Berlin this week would go ahead as planned.
"We appeal to the Israeli government to desist from this procedure (for building more settlements)," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference, adding that the plans undermined efforts to revive peace talks by reducing the land available for a future Palestinian state.
Asked whether the issue might jeopardize Netanyahu's visit to Germany, Seibert said there was no change in the schedule: "The chancellor (Angela Merkel) expects Mr Netanyahu for dinner and talks on Wednesday evening... We expect an open discussion between friends."
(Reporting by Gareth Jones and Alexandra Hudson)
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