Talks to form new government kick off

Feb. 3, 2013 at 7:49 AM

JERUSALEM, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Coalition talks to form the next Israeli government began Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the helm.

President Shimon Peres has given Netanyahu 28 days to form the new government, but if necessary, the prime minister will be granted a 14-day extension.

"We have to put aside what divides us so that we can have peace among ourselves and with our neighbors," Netanyahu said in a Saturday night speech broadcast on Israel radio and television. "The broadest, most stable government possible is what is necessary at this time. In our reality, we cannot have boycotts."

The first mission of the next government will be to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capability he said, as well as other areas in the region that are accumulating deadly weapons and threatening Israel. The new government will also work toward achieving peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu said.

Peres expressed hope the new government will be formed as soon as possible to give Israel economic and political stability.

Netanyahu and former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's joint negotiating Israel-Beitenu team will meet with party representatives from Yesh Atid (There is a Future) , Bayit Hayehudi (the Jewish Home), and Shas Sunday, The Jerusalem Post said.

Talks will continue Monday with the United Torah Judaism party, Tzipi Livni's Hatnua and Kadima, The Post said.

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