February 17, 2008 13:31


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"The window of opportunity for peace is shrinking," President Shimon Peres said Sunday during a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. "People are losing faith in peace," Peres said. "The Middle East has a policy of talk but not action - everybody talks, but nobody does anything. Only a fundamental change at the ground level, thousands of new workplaces and a raise in the quality of life in the West Bank will strengthen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] and the moderate peace camp." The two also discussed the situation in the Gaza Strip and the Iranian nuclear program, according to a statement issued by the president's office. Kouchner said there had been no real progress in the peace process since December's donors conference in Paris in which the international community pledged billions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians over the next few years. The French FM told Peres he felt a great deal of despair, frustration and hopelessness among Palestinians regarding the prospects of establishing a Palestinian state. This, he said, was "a dangerous thing."

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