Sunday, March 7, 2010

Barak: Tough decisions ahead; hopes indirect talks will lead to negotiations on core issues

(Ynet)."I hope the indirect talks with the Palestinians will help advance the peace process in such a way that they will facilitate actual negotiations on the core issues and eventually lead to an agreement," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday evening.

The core issues include the future of Jerusalem, borders and the Palestinian refugees.

Speaking at a women's conference in Herzliya, Barak said Saturday's meeting with US Mideast envoy George Mitchell and his expected meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden this week "are part of the intensive efforts that are important to any citizen who cares about the country's future.

"Now more than ever, I believe that it is the Israeli leadership's duty to make certain we do not miss another opportunity, and this means a willingness to make some difficult decisions that will require support from all corners of the political establishment," said the defense minister.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Mitchell, but no details were made available. The two are expected to meet again Monday morning, before Mitchell heads to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Barak continued to say that "Abbas will also have to make some difficult decisions regarding his own people. Peace is in the interest of all sides involved."