Barak and Gates
Photo: Shahar Azran

Barak: Peace deal must include end to conflict

Defense minister meets with American counterpart Gates, reiterates need for Israelis and Palestinians to drop mutual demands. As for Iranian nuclear threat, he reiterates 'Israel is not taking any options off the table'

WASHINGTON – Defense Minister Ehud Barak told US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Monday that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians and any peace deal must include an agreement on ending the conflict and dropping mutual demands.


During the Pentagon meeting, the defense minister stressed that Israel was interested in advancing the process being led by US President Barack Obama, which focuses on an agreement with the Palestinians while maintaining Israel's security and vital interests.


He mentioned the moves taken by Israel in order to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population in the West Bank, including removing checkpoints and dirt roadblocks, working to improve the economic situation in the Palestinian Authority and allowing the Fatah convention in Bethlehem.


As for the United Nations committee's conclusions in regards to the Israeli operation in Gaza, Barak stressed that the Goldstone Report encourages and supports terror and terror organizations.


On Tuesday, Barak is scheduled to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's entourage at the United Nations headquarters in New York, ahead of the three-way meeting between Netanyahu, Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The White House has already admitted it has "no grand expectations" from the summit.


The most urgent matter, the Iranian nuclear threat, was also discussed at the Pentagon, with Barak saying that he timeframe for harsh sanctions on Iran must be limited.


The two officials met at the Pentagon for a face-to-face meeting for about half an hour, and were later joined by a number of senior advisors and representatives.


Addressing the Iranian nuclear threat, on the backdrop of the Russian president's claim that Israel had promised not to strike in Iran, Barak said that the Jewish state "is not taking any option off the table. It means what is says, and it advises other countries to act the same way."


Before Gates, Barak met with American National Security Advisor James Jones and with Dennis Ross, who is in charge of the talks with Iran on behalf of the United States.


פרסום ראשון: 09.21.09, 23:24
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