Israeli minister says peace talks soon

June 21, 2012 at 7:16 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz said Thursday in Washington he believes peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians will resume in the near future.

"I believe that there is an opportunity to restart negotiations. I have a firm basis for believing this will happen in the near future," Mofaz told Israel Radio.

The resumption of peace talks must begin without any preconditions, he said, adding in recent years the Palestinians' insistence on preconditions created obstacles.

Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat is also in Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Jerusalem Post said. A Palestinian official told the newspaper Erekat plans to reiterate conditions for the resumption of talks, which include a complete halt to construction in the West Bank settlements and the recognition of a Palestinian state on pre-1967 (Six Days War) lines, the paper said.

Earlier this week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the peace process with Israel is "clinically dead" and accused Israel of being responsible for the lack of progress.

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