Netanyahu: Time for direct talks with Palestinians

Netanyahu: Time for direct talks with Palestinians
# 27 May 2010 17:59 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday it’s time to move to direct talks with the Palestinians and that he will raise the issue with President Barack Obama in Washington next week, APA reports quoting The Associated Press.
Netanyahu, after talks in Paris with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said he wants to move beyond indirect "proximity talks" that are being mediated by the United States.
"We want to move as speedily as possible to direct talks because the kind of problem that we have with the Palestinians can be resolved in peace and can be arranged only if we sit down together," Netanyahu told reporters at the French presidential palace.
Indirect talks began early this month and have raised hopes direct negotiations could begin soon.
Netanyahu said Thursday he will discuss the peace efforts with President Barack Obama in Washington next week. Netanyahu said, "I think there is a broad consensus that we should move on to direct talks."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday he hoped indirect talks will yield results in four months, as envisaged.
"Of course we are committed to peace and to achieving peace through negotiations," Abbas said during a visit to Malaysia. "We will see what will happen. Anyhow, we are hopeful."
In Paris, Netanyahu said Sarkozy "discussed ways that France could help to expedite this process of negotiations."
Sarkozy’s office did not elaborate. The French president has encouraged peace efforts in the past, and offered Thursday to help revive peace efforts between Israel and Syria, according to the French president’s office.
Netanyahu praised Sarkozy’s efforts toward tough new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities, which western powers and Israel fear is aimed at making weapons but which Tehran says is aimed at producing nuclear energy.
Netanyahu is in Paris for a ceremony welcoming Israel into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of leading world economies. Palestinian officials opposed OECD membership for Israel, citing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and discrimination against its own Arab minority.
Netanyahu said in an interview with French daily Le Figaro, "one of the current challenges is to develop the economic situation of the Palestinians," which he says "could greatly help" peace efforts.
He did not lay out any proposals for boosting the Palestinian economy, which suffers from high poverty and unemployment.