Ashton, Peres discuss peace prospects in the region

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August 28, 2011 21:06
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Revolutionary trends in the Middle East have not yet been fully played out and it's anyone's guess as to whether the region is moving towards democracy or whether oppression and corruption will continue to rule in another guise.

Israel, while welcoming the overthrow of tyrants and the quest for freedom, has consistently stated that a change of leadership without a change in the system will not be productive and will not lead to what the revolutionaries had hoped to achieve. The Israeli attitude has been that if there is positive change, this will be a good sign for peace prospects in the region. The topic was in the forefront of conversation on Sunday night between President Shimon Peres and Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, with the emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the possible scenarios at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, and the consequences of a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian State.

Ashton was nearly an hour behind schedule, having met previously with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who kept her waiting for a long time.

Asked whether the meeting with Netanyahu had been delayed, one of Ashton's aides replied grimly that it had been considerably delayed.

Netanyahu has a reputation for being notoriously late to meetings and press conferences, and even someone of Ashton's stature could not break him of the habit.

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