Merkel hails Netanyahu's move towards two-state solution

16th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

Netanyahu on Sunday endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state, provided it was demilitarised, after weeks of pressure from Washington.

Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening that he had taken an "important first step" towards Middle East peace, officials said in Berlin.

"The chancellor had a long telephone conversation" with Netanyahu and "praised his speech (on Sunday) as an important first step towards realising a two-state solution" meaning the establishment of a Palestinian state, said government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm.

"She hopes that the road will now open up for the start of corresponding negotiations, during which those questions that remain up for discussion can be resolved," Wilhelm added in a statement.

The Israeli premier accepted an invitation to travel to Germany "soon," he also said.

Netanyahu on Sunday endorsed for the first time the creation of a Palestinian state, provided it was demilitarised, after weeks of pressure from Washington.

But the Israeli premier also said the Palestinians must recognise the Jewish character of Israel, a condition Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has long rejected.

He also ruled out a halt to all Jewish settlement activity as demanded by Obama and the Middle East Quartet.

AFP/Expatica

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