Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Egypt FM: Netanyahu is serious about renewing peace talks

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Tuesday said he was encouraged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Cairo.

Aboul Gheit said Netanyahu is serious about restarting peace talks with the Palestinians. He refused to share details of what Netanyahu proposed, but he said the premier presented proposals that surpassed Israel's previous positions.

"I can't talk about details, but the prime minister was discussing positions that surpass in our estimate what we've heard from them in a long time," Aboul Gheit told reporters, adding "I can't say that he has come with changed positions, but he is moving forward."

The Palestinians have said they will not resume talks until Israel freezes all settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They also want Netanyahu to resume talks from the point they broke off under his predecessor, Ehud Olmert.

Aboul Gheit said Netanyahu gave his Egyptian hosts the impression that he wants to get diplomacy moving again, and that everything is on the table.