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Israel proposes talks with Palestinians

Dec. 12, 2003 at 3:54 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Israel's foreign minister says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will propose new peace talks with Palestinians next week, the BBC reported Friday.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom made the comment after talks in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Shalom added Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qurei, would hold talks "in the near future."

"We talked about many issues including the plans of the Israeli government and the Israeli prime minister," Shalom said.

Shalom refused to give any details of Sharon's plans.

"I believe that the prime minister will announce his new plan next week, and we will leave him to do it," he said.

He said that the date for the talks between the two leaders depended on the "willingness of the Palestinians."

Shalom, who praised the United States for playing a constructive role in negotiations in the past and could play a key role once again, repeated that the so-called roadmap was still the "only game in town" when it comes to peace talks with Palestinians.

Israel has been under domestic pressure to adopt a positive stance towards peace negotiations, the BBC said.

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