Hague: Bold leadership needed to restart talks

British Foreign Secretary says there is no realistic "plan B" in the event that the American peace initiative fails.

May 24, 2013 18:56
2 minute read.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, PA President Mahmoud Abbas meet in Ramallah, May 23, 2013.

Hague and Abbas in Ramallah 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Atef Safadi/Pool)

"Bold leadership" is required on both sides in order to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters on Friday, the Guardian reported.

"It is vital for all sides to make the necessary compromises for negotiations towards [a two-state solution] to succeed," he said.

Hague stressed that the current American initiative was nearing the last attempt possible at reaching a two-state solution, and that there was no realistic "plan B." He also expressed concern that the chances of a Palestinian state were slipping away, according to the Guardian.

"The two-state solution is slipping away, it doesn't have much longer to go. We never like to say it's the last attempt at anything, but we're getting near the last attempt at this," Hague was quoted as saying.

"If this doesn't work, there is not going to be another moment in American diplomacy that is more committed and energetic to bring about negotiations. So it's very important – in weeks, not months – to make the most of this opportunity," he continued.

Hague noted that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were "intensively engaged" with US Secretary of State John Kerry's mission to restart the peace effort, but that they were facing immense pressures.

In an interview broadcast Friday on Sky News, Hague said that Britain strongly disagrees with settlements on occupied land, saying that they were "a severe threat" to a two-state solution.

Hague met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and PA president Abbas on Thursday, and with President Shimon Peres on Friday, during a brief visit to the region that includes Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Abbas and Hague discussed the "unsustainable situation" in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and explored prospects to resume peace talks in order to achieve "a secure Israel living alongside a viable Palestinian state," Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Thursday.

Hague told Abbas that Britain's vision for a two-state solution is based on the 1967 borders, plus an agreed land swap, with Jerusalem as a shared capital for both nations.

"There must be a just, fair and agreed resolution of the refugee question. Gaza must be an integral part of the Palestinian state," he added.

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