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Barak: WikiLeaks affair delayed settlement freeze
Defense minister says peace process stalled in part because Washington immersed in Korean crisis, WikiLeaks affair. Adds: Turkey acted admirably during Carmel blaze

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday that contacts with the United States regarding the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians were suspended due to the crisis in Korea and the WikiLeaks affair.

 

During a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee debate, Barak said the US administration had lost its "attention span" in light of the events.

 

According to the defense minister, Washington and Jerusalem reached a verbal agreement regarding a construction moratorium in the West Bank's Jewish settlements. "However," he said, "The problems begin when we discuss written agreements."

 

Following his return from the US, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the US had agreed to supply Israel with 20 F-35 fighter planes in exchange for a three-month settlement freeze. But since then the sides have not been able to agree on the wording of the agreement.

 

Addressing the assistance Turkey provided during the deadly inferno in the Carmel region, Barak said Ankara "acted admirably," adding that the cooperation during the blaze presented an opportunity to "mend the ties between us and the Turks."

 

 

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