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COP21: Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas shake hands for first time in years

Published 30/11/2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestine's president Mahmud Abbas (R) behind Comoros' President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Palestine's president Mahmud Abbas (R) behind Comoros' President Ikililou Dhoinine during the family photo during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on November 30, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
French president Francois Hollande (L) greets Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas (R) as he arrives for the COP21 World Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, on November 30, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
A handout picture released by the Palestinian Authority's press office (PPO) on November 30, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the UN conference on climate change - COP21, on November 30, 2015 at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of the French capital Paris. AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEVMIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, is greeted by U.S. President Barack Obama after he delivered remarks during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and U.S. President Barack Obama, rear, attend the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with Secretary of State John Kerry after a speech by President Barack Obama during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
French President Francois Hollande, left, greets U.S. President Barack Obama as he arrives for the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, Pool)
U.S. President Barack Obama, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting held on the sidelines of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Le Bourget, outside Paris, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Barack Obama delivers a speech during the plenary session at the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change, on November 30, 2015 at Le Bourget, on the outskirts of the French capital Paris. More than 150 world leaders are meeting under heightened security, for the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), also known as "Paris 2015" from November 30 to December 11. AFP PHOTO / POOL / ERIC FEFERBERGERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

Israel's prime minister and the Palestinian president, in France for the climate summit, met and shook hands for the first time in years.

A photograph shows Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas shaking hands and smiling on the sidelines of global climate talks outside Paris on Monday. It was not immediately clear if they had agreed to meet or if they spoke.

US mediated peace talks between the sides collapsed early 2014 and the two leaders have not met in years.

Meanwhile, leaders of small island nations pleaded for their survival, asking bigger countries to do more to cut emissions and help threatened nations cope with rising seas and wilder storms blamed on man-made global warming.

Peter M Christian, president of the Pacific nation of Micronesia, called on UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to declare a worldwide state of emergency.

Mr Christian said: "The challenge is to save ourselves, not someone else, but ourselves."

The prime minister of the Pacific country of Tuvalu, Enele Sosene Sopoaga, added that "any further temperature increase will spell the total demise of Tuvalu."

They spoke in Paris on the opening day of high-stakes climate talks aimed at reaching a global compromise to cut emissions long-term.

Bill Gates said he and other investors are pledging seven billion US dollars (£4.6 billion) for research and development of clean energy, and that they are hoping to get others to pitch in more in the coming days.

The Microsoft co-founder is announcing the investment as part of a larger initiative with world governments that are promising to double spending on renewable energy research.

Mr Gates told reporters that he is hoping to see more investors sign on "possibly this week." The money is being raised by individual wealthy investors and the University of California.

He said he has warned potential investors that new energy technologies take longer than IT or biotech to launch.

The fund will support a wide range of technologies, Mr Gates said - "biofuels, carbon capture, high wind, fission, fusion - we're unbiased but it has to be clean and possible to scale up cheaply".

And Mr Putin said Russia is ready to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by almost one-third over the next 15 years compared with 1990 levels - although the fall in Russia's economy since 1990 means that it could still increase its current emissions.

He said that by 2030 Russia is ready to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to 70% of their level in 1990.

Mr Putin also said that a future global climate deal must include commitments from both developing and developed countries.

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