The G8 called for a renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and expressed support for US President Barack Obama's peace plan
, in a statement released Friday.
"We are convinced that the historic changes throughout the region make the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through negotiations more important, not less," the statement read. RELATED:G8 pledges financial help for 'Arab Spring' nationsIsrael hopes EU will back other parts of Obama vision
"Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict," the leaders of US, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Russia said. "To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 201
The Group of Eight leaders said that "aspirations of the peoples in the
region need to be heeded, including that of the Palestinians for a
viable sovereign State and that of the Israelis for security and
"The time to resume the peace process is now," the statement read.
The G8 also said they "appreciate the efforts and the progress" the PA
has made toward "building a viable state;" however, the leaders called
on the Palestinians and Israel "to abide by existing cooperation
agreements and to abstain from unilateral measures that could hamper
progress and further reforms."
The statement also called for "the easing of the situation in Gaza" and captive soldier Gilad Schalit's release.
Group of Eight leaders promised on Friday to support new Arab democracies, according to a statement they are to release following a meeting in the northern French resort town of Deauville.
"The changes under way in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are historic and have the potential to open the door to the kind of transformation that occurred in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall," says the statement, a copy of which was obtained in advance by Reuters.
"We, members of the G8, strongly support the aspirations of the Arab Spring as well as those of the Iranian people.Reuters contributed to this report.