Britain 'disappointed' at end to Israeli settlement freeze

28th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain expressed its "disappointment" Monday at Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on settlement-building in the West Bank and warned that Middle East peace talks could founder on the issue.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement: "I am very disappointed to hear that the moratorium has not been renewed.

"I remain very concerned that talks could falter on this issue and I call on Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu and his government to show leadership to resolve this so the parties can focus on the real challenges ahead."

Later at a meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the UN General Assembly in New York, Hague stressed success in the talks "was in Israel's long-term strategic interests," said the Foreign Office.

He also "highlighted the depth of concern in the international community about the settlement moratorium and urged that it be extended," added the ministry in a statement.

Israeli settlers resumed building across the West Bank on Monday after the partial freeze on construction expired, but the Palestinians held back on threats to quit peace talks over the move.

© 2010 AFP

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