PARIS — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting in Paris with the top U.S. Mideast envoy has been called off in an apparent sign of growing friction over President Barack Obama's call for a halt to construction in Jewish settlements.
The U.S. position could spell political trouble for Netanyahu, whose government depends on patrons of the settlers.
Netanyahu said Wednesday, after meeting the leaders of France and Italy, that his bid for a demilitarized Palestinian state is gaining international ground.
But French President Nicolas Sarkozy, like Obama, insisted on a complete and immediate end to construction in Jewish settlements, and Netanyahu backed out of a potentially uncomfortable meeting in Paris with Washington's Mideast envoy, seeking more time to try and sidestep a confrontation with Washington.
A statement from Netanyahu's office said the meeting with George Mitchell, which had been scheduled to take place in Paris on Thursday, would be put off.
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