Monday, August 16, 2010

PM Netanyahu urges patience on Peace talks; Hope for Direct talks "in the very near future"

(Reuters).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that patience was needed in restarting direct negotiations with the Palestinians, but that launching the talks would not take years or even months.he hoped for direct negotiations with the Palestinians "in the very near future."

"We are ready to go to Cairo, Washington, ready to go anywhere to get this process moving," he told a news conference after talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Athens.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel wanted direct talks but insisted there be no pre-conditions.

Papandreou backed Netanyahu's call for direct talks.

"It is necessary that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians begin immediately. This is the most useful way to achieve a viable peace," he told the news conference, adding: "We will contribute in any way we can."

Speaking about Turkey, Papandreou said that Greek has experienced problems with the country, yet strives to maintain good relations. "We respect them and we want them to respect us," he said.

Turkey must understand that it can play a role that will bring her honor, but must also treat her neighbors with respect, added Papandreou.

Netanyahu told reporters that in his talks with Papandreou they discussed steps to be taken in the very near future. An aide said he referred to additional confidence building measures.