Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said the government is continuing its efforts to resume the peace talks with the Palestinians.
"The government of Israel is continuing its efforts, I'm in the government mainly in order to help this happen," Barak told Israel Radio.
The defense minister went on to express his appreciation for the efforts by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US Mideast envoy George Mitchell to promote contacts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
"We all heard the secretary of state's praise for the steps we took in order to encourage the resumption of peace talks," Barak said, referring to Clinton's acclaim of Netanyahu's moratorium on new construction in the settlements, a move which she said was "unprecedented."
Barak added that during his trip to Washington with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu next week, they would try to reach understandings on the issue with the Obama administration.
"The aim of the negotiations is clear - to reach an agreement that would end the conflict and the mutual demands, leading to the establishment of an economically, territorially independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, so that we no longer control another people and the occupation that began in 1967 ends," the defense minister stated.
"I think these goals are vital for Israel," Barak stressed, "any alternatives I can think of are far worse. From discussion of a bi-national state to a unilateral decision by the PA to declare a Palestinian state in the 1967 territories.
"The state of Israel has an interest to engage in peace talks not because of the Palestinians, but first and foremost for our own sake, not because of the US but mostly for the future of the state of Israel," he concluded.