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Geneva nuclear deal with Iran 'historic mistake': Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the interim nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was a historic mistake. "What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it was a historic mistake," Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks. "Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon."

Kerry to visit Israel on Friday

US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Israel on Friday to discuss the Iranian nuclear talks and peace with the Palestinians, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Speaking to his ministers, Netanyahu said he would also discuss the Iran talks with French President Francois Hollande, who arrives in Israel later on Sunday, as well as with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he travels to meet him in Moscow on Wednesday.

France's Hollande in Israel for Iran-focused visit

French President Francois Hollande landed in Israel on Sunday for a visit set to be dominated by the issue of world talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear programme. The visit, Hollande's first since he became president in 2012, will also see him travelling to the Palestinian territories to discuss Middle East peace talks which have been limping along for three months with little signs of progress.

Hollande lands in Israel for Iran-focused visit

French President Francois Hollande landed on Sunday at Israel's Ben Gurion airport for a three-day visit likely to be dominated by the Iranian nuclear issue, an AFP correspondent said. Descending from the plane, he was welcomed on the red carpet by his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with whom he will hold talks later in the day. Both national flags snapped in the wind as the delegation stood to attention for their respective anthems, the carpet lined with dark-suited Israeli ministers and dignitaries.

France's Hollande heads to Israel ahead of Iran talks

French President Francois Hollande heads to Israel on Sunday for a visit set to be dominated by the issue of world talks with Iran on its disputed nuclear programme. The visit, Hollande's first since taking over as president in 2012, will also see him travelling to the Palestinian territories for talks on the Middle East peace negotiations which have been limping along for three months with little signs of progress.

Hollande lands in Israel for Iran-focused visit

French President Francois Hollande landed on Sunday at Israel's Ben Gurion airport for a three-day visit likely to be dominated by the Iranian nuclear issue, an AFP correspondent said. On leaving the plane he was to be welcomed on the red carpet by his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with whom he will hold talks later in the day. He will also lay a wreath at the grave of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism, and visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. ha/hmw/dv

AFP World News Agenda

What's happening around the world on Friday -- TOP STORIES -- + Hopes for Iran nuclear deal on final day of talks + Philippines hit by world's strongest storm of 2013 + Kerry meets Netanyahu over Mideast peace push GENEVA: World powers wrap up two days of talks with Iran amid high expectations that a preliminary deal will be reached on ending a decades-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme. No times announced. Picture. Video (IRAN-NUCLEAR-POLITICS-TALKS)

Israel backtracks on defence spending cuts

The Israeli government on Thursday bowed to pressure from the defence establishment and voted to give it a 2.75 billion shekel ($738 million, 573 million euros) budget increase, official statements said. The rise came less than six months after the cabinet approved a 3.0 billion shekel cut as part of the overall 2014 austerity budget, which Finance Minister Yair Lapid said was essential for the country's economic health.

Peres defends Israel ambiguity on nuclear programme

President Shimon Peres, considered the father of Israel's nuclear programme, on Monday sought to justify the policy of ambiguity his country has adopted concerning the issue. On Iran, Peres said newly elected President Hassan Rouhani represented a "chance", in contrast with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence the moderate leader was a "wolf in sheep's clothing". "Its a chance, undecided yet," Peres, whose role is largely ceremonial, told the France 24 television network.

Palestinian president Abbas invites pope to Middle East

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas during a Vatican audience on Thursday invited Pope Francis to the Middle East, saying he would "walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ". Speaking to Vatican foreign affairs official Dominique Mamberti after the talks, he said: "It was a pleasure and I invited him to the Holy Land". Abbas gave the pope a ceramic panel with a view of Bethlehem and a Bible as gifts, while Francis gave him a decorative pen with which Abbas said he hoped to sign a peace agreement with Israel. "Soon, soon," the pope responded.
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