Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Netanyahu: Close to resuming Proximity talks, however Direct talks are a must for core issues negotiations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told European officials that he would consider releasing Palestinian prisoners when Middle East peace talks resume.

"We are prepared to do many things to improve the quality of life in Judea and Samaria,But we first expect some movement on the Palestinian side."

"We are weighing releasing prisoners, but as you know, this is a sensitive issue in Israel because of the subject of [abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier] Gilad Shalit,The matter depends on political movement from the Palestinian side."

Netanyahu did not specify whether the release of prisoners would take place in conjunction with indirect negotiations with Palestinians or as part of direct talks.

Netanyahu said that Israel and the Palestinians are very close to resuming "proximity talks," or indirect negotiations. "We are discussing the structure and the time-frame of the negotiations with the Americans,".

However "It is impossible to deal with the core issues of a peace agreement without direct negotiations."