Merkel presses Netanyahu to resume peace talks

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to demand a quick return to peace talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, her spokesman said Friday.

In a strongly worded statement, the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel had told Netanyahu that the success of negotiations on a two-state solution rested on both sides refraining from "provocations".

She said she had "absolutely no understanding" for the approval of Israeli plans to expand a settlement in Gilo, in east Jerusalem, Seibert said.

"This approval had raised doubt whether the Israeli government has an interest in the start of serious negotiations," he said, adding that Merkel told Netanyahu it was "now a question of dispelling this doubt."

The Quartet, composed of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, announced a bid to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians on September 23.

It came shortly after the Palestinians submitted their bid to join the United Nations as a member state.

Merkel said the Quartet's plan must be the basis for negotiations.

The proposal calls for talks to begin within a month, for both sides to produce concrete ideas on security and borders within three months and for a final deal to be reached before the end of 2012.

Merkel had phoned Abbas Monday to press him to accept the Quartet proposal to open negotiations with Israel.

© 2011 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • JohnWV posted:

    on 30th September 2011, 19:54:12 - Reply

    UN recognition is Palestine's only viable option. Direct negotiations are a ruse to further prolong Israel's enrichment from ongoing war against occupied Palestine. The context of war perpetuates enormous American military assistance, abets illegal land annexation and masks the Jewish State's ruthlessness. Justice demands resolution just as involuntary, disruptive and humiliating to Israel as Israel has wreaked upon Palestine for generations. The Jewish State must be made to recognize a Palestine with UN and NATO enforced autonomy, eviction of all settlers, true contiguity encompassing Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem together, neither pinched nor parceled, and pay punitive reparations.