FM hopes Quartet statement would lead to negotiations

Lieberman: Quartet call for Palestinian-Israeli negotiations could be effective; Obama may have helped bring Palestinians "down to Earth."

September 22, 2011 09:57
2 minute read.
Lieberman listens to Obama speak at UNGA

Lieberman at UNGA R 311 . (photo credit: Reuters)


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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed hope that direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations would be renewed if the Quartet releases a statement calling for renewed peace talks, Israel Radio reported on Thursday.

Diplomatic sources at the UN estimated that such a statement would be released within a month.

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Lieberman expressed belief that this would be accepted by both sides and would lead to direct negotiations, in an interview from New York with Israel Radio.

The foreign minister said he expects Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to make an offer to resume direct negotiations, without preconditions, when he speaks to the UN General Assembly Friday. He said he did not think Netanyahu's speech would include any far-reaching proposals.

Lieberman added that US President Barack Obama's speech to the UN General Assembly on Thursday would at least delay the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN. He hoped, though, that the meeting between Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday night, succeeded to "bring the Palestinians back to Earth."

Earlier this week, a US official told reporters that talks among the Quartet  of Middle East peace mediators to find a path to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been productive.

Members of the Quartet will continue to meet down to the wire, former British prime minister Tony Blair told reporters Sunday night, with the hope of restarting negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Quartet’s aims for this week, Blair said, were to significantly advance Palestinian statehood and to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations back on track.

While Blair did state that the Palestinians were “entitled” to approach the UN unilaterally, he also reasserted the Quartet’s preference for bilateral negotiations.

Blair said Sunday that negotiations would potentially lead to peace that would not be theoretical, but “real and on the ground.”

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