Tue, September 07, 2010
World > Middle East > Middle East peace in talk

Israeli settlement freeze necessary for Middle East direct peace talks: Egyptian FM

2010-09-06 14:40:38 GMT2010-09-06 22:40:38 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

CAIRO, Sept 6 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Monday halting the construction of Israeli settlements is necessary to ensure that direct peace talks between Palestinians and Israel continue, referring the Palestinians may stop negotiation if Israel decided not to extend the banning of freeze which is expired on Sept. 26.

In a televised interview broadcasted by the local TV, Abul Gheit warned the direct peace negotiations might collapse if Israel resumes expansion of settlements after Sept. 26, adding " the Palestinians may stop negotiation if Israel decided not to extend the banning of freeze".

"I received good intentions from Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many other Israeli Ministers except Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman as I don't contact or talk to him, " Abul Gheit added.

"It is still early to talk about progress or development in these talks, we need to see these intentions to be translated on the land," he said.

He stressed that the solving of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will cost the international community from 40 to 50 billion U.S. dollars in order to "put" the Palestinian state along with the Israeli state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held on Thursday the first round of direct talks in Washington.

The two leaders agreed to make efforts to solve all final status issues concerning borders of a new Palestinian state, security, refugees and the future of Jerusalem, within one year's time as expected by the United States.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's position on a unilateral settlement construction freeze set to end on Sept. 26, "remains unchanged", raising doubts about the possibility of success in the current direct talks.

Netanyahu and Abbas are scheduled to hold a second round of talks on Sept. 14 to 15, reportedly in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

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