Monday, December 13, 2010

Netanyahu to Mitchell: I'm ready to discuss all essential Mideast issues

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell met for three hours on Monday. The Prime Minister's Office stated that the meeting was "positive and to the point", and that the two spoke of ways to promote the political process, Netanyahu noted that he was willing to discuss all the fundamental issues in the upcoming weeks and months.

Ahead of their three-hour meeting, Netanyahu welcomed the envoy and expressed his seriousness in working together to reach a peace deal:
"We have a lot of work to do. We’re going to work together to establish a new path to achieve a common goal, which is to get a framework agreement for peace that will ensure both peace and security, and I may add prosperity. That’s a worthy objective and I know that the United States Administration, the President, the Secretary of State and yourself are committed to it, as we are and we hope our Palestinian neighbors will participate with us to achieve that in the coming months".
Mitchell emphasized that the Obama administration was intent on pursuing the goal of reaching a final Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty in accordance with the path the two sides laid our during their brief direct negotiations in September:
"That remains our goal. As Secretary of State Clinton said on Friday, and I quote: “Reaching this goal will not be easy by any means. The differences between the two sides are real, and they are persistent. But the way to get there is by engaging in good faith with the full complexities of the core issues, and by working to narrow the gaps between the two. By doing this, the parties can begin to rebuild confidence, demonstrate their seriousness, and hopefully find enough common ground on which to eventually re-launch direct negotiations and achieve that framework. The parties have indicated that they want the United States to continue its efforts, and in the days ahead, our discussions with both sides will be substantive, two-way conversations, with an eye toward making real progress in the next few months on the key question of an eventual framework agreement.”
Visiting Washington DC, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that US brokered talks with the Palestinians "will be meaningful and this is an important development. It should bring us to the real issues of negotiating borders, security, refugees and Jerusalem".