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Friday, August 20, 2010
Israel welcomes invitation to resume peace talks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Friday an invitation to begin direct peace talks with the Palestinians, a statement issued by the prime minister's office said.US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Middle East Quartet of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU, issued the invitation separately Friday, after weeks of wrangling over between Israelis, Palestinians and mediators over the terms of the proposed negotiations.The Israeli response, which referred only to the invitation issued by Clinton in Washington, said Netanyahu 'expressed satisfaction' at the US clarification that the talks would be conducted without preconditions. The talks are due to begin Sep 2..."LINK
"Middle East Quartet calls on Israel, Palestinians to launch direct negotiations In a statement issued this morning, the Quartet members – the UN, the European Union, Russia and the United States – called on the two sides to launch direct negotiations on 2 September in Washington “to resolve all final status issues and fulfil the aspirations of both parties.” Direct bilateral talks have not been held since late 2008, but indirect, or proximity, talks resumed in May this year, with the former United States senator George Mitchell shuttling between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Seven rounds of indirect talks have been held and earlier this week Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco told a Security Council meetingthat the push to resume direct talks had reached a turning point. Late last month, Arab League foreign ministers agreed to give their backing in principle to Mr. Abbas re-starting direct negotiations when he deems it appropriate.Today’s statement noted that “the Quartet expresses its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations, which can be completed within one year, and the implementation of an agreement.“The Quartet again calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric.”The statement stressed that direct negotiations will only be successful if there is “sustained regional and international support” for both the talks and the “parallel process of Palestinian State-building and the pursuit of a just, lasting and comprehensive regional peace as envisaged in the Madrid terms of reference, Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.”Quartet members have consistently called on the two sides to adhere to their commitments under the Roadmap, the internationally approved plan for a two-State solution in which Israel and the Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security".LINK
Catherine Ashton, the high-ranking European Union diplomat, called the prospect of negotiations “a major step on the road towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the region.” LINK
"STATEMENT BY MIDDLE EAST QUARTET
The following statement was issued today by the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union):
The representatives of the Quartet reaffirm their strong support for direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve all final status issues. The Quartet reaffirms its full commitment to its previous statements, including in Trieste on 26 June 2009, in New York on 24 September 2009, and its statement in Moscow on 19 March 2010, which provides that direct, bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues should “lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours”.
The Quartet expresses its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations, which can be completed within one year, and the implementation of an agreement. The Quartet again calls on both sides to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric. Welcoming the result of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee in Cairo on 29 July, the Quartet notes that success will require sustained regional and international support for the negotiations and the parallel process of Palestinian state-building and the pursuit of a just, lasting and comprehensive regional peace as envisaged in the Madrid terms of reference, Security Council resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative. The Quartet principals intend to meet with their colleagues from the Arab League in September in New York to review the situation. Accordingly, the Quartet calls on the Israelis and the Palestinians to join in launching direct negotiations on 2 September in Washington, D.C., to resolve all final status issues and fulfil the aspirations of both parties". LINK