Netanyahu (L) with Ban on Wednesday
Photo: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

PM to Ban: Ready to take risks for peace

UN secretary-general meets with Prime Minister Netanyahu, expresses support of moving to direct negotiations with Palestinians

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and expressed his support of a move to direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians as soon as possible, in order to advance a peace agreement in the region.


The UN chief thanked Netanyahu for easing the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu thanked his host for his leadership and his friendship and said the Israeli public is willing to take risks for peace.


However, the prime minister stressed that any future agreement must ensure but any future arrangement needs to guarantee the cessation of rocket fire into Israel.


The two also discussed the Israeli raid on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza, and the implementation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.


Before the meeting, Netanyahu met with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and outlined to him Israel's concerns about the rise of an eastern front after the US troops withdraw from Iraq.


Netanyahu expressed concern that the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, coupled with the strengthening of Iran might lead to a new "eastern front" against Israel.


During his visit, the prime minister is slated appear on a series of interviews with US' leading TV networks.


Frigid Palestinian Response

Meanwhile, the positive meeting between Obama and Netanyahu was received frigidly in the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.


"The key to direct talks is in the hand of Prime Minister Netanyahu," said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. "The minute he announces a (total) settlement freeze, the minute he announces the resumption of final status (talks) where we left them in December 2008, we will have direct talks," he said.


The Hamas movement on Wednesday warned the Palestinian Authority against resuming the negotiations. According to Hamas spokesman, Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, the Obama-Netanyahu meeting proved that there was no chance for a change in the American policy in light of the continued American support for Israel.


"Returning to negotiations with the occupation would be a national crime and provide the enemy with a cover up to continue its crimes against the Palestinian people and its holy places," Abu Zuhri warned.




פרסום ראשון: 07.08.10, 00:33
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