EU fears Netanyahu
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Bildt. Concerned
Photo: AFP
EU worried over Netanyahu commitment to peace
Swedish FM says he is worried prime minister-designate's talks with right-wing parties to form coalition could halt negotiations with Palestinians. Czech deputy PM says he expects 'rough start' once a new Israeli government takes office

European Union officials have raised concerns over the commitment of Israel's hardline Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue genuine peace talks with Palestinians.


Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says he is worried Netanyahu's talks with other hard-line parties to form a coalition could halt peace talks with Palestinians.


Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra says he expects a "rough start" once a new Israeli government takes office, warning a two-state peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians is narrowing now that Netanyahu is likely to form a government.


Asked whether Netanyahu's nomination would be good for the peace process with the Palestinians, Vondra said: "That remains to be seen."


"I think we can have a bit of a rough start, but we need to move ahead with the peace process because the two-state solution road is narrowing," Vondra said on arrival at a meeting of EU foreign ministers.


The EU's 27 foreign ministers were discussing peace efforts in the Middle East at talks held in Brussels Monday. They insisted that a two-state solution was the only option.


"It's simply not possible to abandon this strategy of two states living in peace and security," Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said. "And I think Prime Minister-designate Mr. Netanyahu will follow such a strategy."


The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report


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