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

Reactions vary as Mideast peace talks resume

2010-09-03 16:19:21 GMT2010-09-04 00:19:21 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

(L to R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas attend the launching ceremony of the direct negotiation between Palestine and Israel at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C., the United States, Sept. 2, 2010. (Xinhua/Wang Chengyun)

BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- There has been mixed views on what may flow from the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington this week.

The meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are being closely watched around the world.

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell described the first round of talks as "productive," saying "our goal is to resolve all of the... core issues within one year."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed the resumption of direct peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis.

"I am very encouraged and happy about these direct talks for the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority taking place today," Ban told reporters after meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger in Vienna.

But he said the Mideast peace process wasn't smooth and warned "we have to battle" against groups trying to stymie the process.

Ban also expressed his support for Abbas, saying his leadership was recognized by the international community.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said Friday he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the talks, but he doubted whether Israel was indeed ready to bring real peace to the region.French President Nicolas Sarkozy had been informed of the talks' progress during a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday, Sarkozy's office said.

Sarkozy reiterated Paris' support for Washington's efforts to push the stalled peace talks, unveiling "the intention to take strong initiatives to help them set a fair, balanced and sustainable peace settlement."

He also called on all related parties to fully abolish any activity that might jeopardize the talks, adding that he believed the Union for Mediterranean summit in Madrid in November was an important chance for France to help build peace in the Middle East.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the talks, seeking to end a conflict that has boiled for six decades, would once again fail.

"Palestine's issue cannot be resolved through talks with the enemies of the Palestinian nation," he said.

The core objective for the ongoing peace talks is for both sides to strike a peace deal based on a two-state solution, which means building a democratic and sovereign Palestinian state living side by side with Israel in peace and security.

To achieve that, the Israelis and the Palestinians have to wipe out such obstacles as who controls Jerusalem, border disputes, Palestinian refugees, settlement construction, and water resources distribution.

The last direct peace talks ended in December 2008, when Israeli forces attacked the Gaza Strip in response to Hamas rocket fire on Israel.

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