Monday, January 4, 2010

PM Netanyahu: 'Atmosphere now ripe for peace talks'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday added weight to recent speculation that peace talks could soon resume between Israel and the Palestinians, telling lawmakers from his Likud party that he sensed "a change in the air."

Speaking at the opening of the Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said, "Since the formation of this government, I have called for a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians without prior conditions. I believe that negotiations about the nature of negotiations have delayed the process enough and should be dropped."

"I wish for the resumption of talks without preconditions… in which both sides can express their views… and I will insist on maintaining our national interests."

"In recent weeks I have felt that there is a certain change in the air, and I hope that this will mature, allowing the start of the diplomatic process."

"Israel is ready for a peace process with the Palestinian Authority, without preconditions, We are serious in our intentions to reach a peace agreement," he said, but cautioned that "diplomatic plans said to be in my name that have appeared in the media have no truth to them."