WASHINGTON – Defense Minister Ehud Barak told US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday that the proximity talks would not help end the deadlock and solve the disagreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
According to Barak, direct negotiations are the only way to advance an agreement based on a solution of two states for two people and help strengthen peace and security in the region.
Speaking during a meeting at the State Department in Washington, the defense minister said that Israel was concerned over the Lebanese government's difficulties to deal with the Hezbollah organization. He added that the Lebanon government would be fully responsible for any act carried out from its territory against Israel.
The meeting, which lasted about 75 minutes, also dealt with the ramifications of the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, including the efforts to increase the supply of goods to Gaza, the Israeli commission of inquiry and the attempts to stop the new flotillas aiming to break the siege on the Strip.
Barak presented Israel's recent moves to improve the inflow of goods through the Gaza crossing while preventing the smuggling of weapons to the Strip.
He added that Israel would continue checking any cargo delivered to Gaza through the sea at the Ashdod Port. He also mentioned that four years have passed since the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Clinton praised Barak as the start of the meeting as "someone who is certainly deeply involved in every important decision that affects Israel's security and prospects for peace."