NEW YORK – Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon for approximately a half hour on Thursday, speaking about the Quartet and developments in the Middle East.
In a press conference after his meeting with Ban, Barak would not comment on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s Thursday night speech directly, instead saying it would be “up to the Egyptian people” to find a way forward into the future.
When asked about the future of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and whether settlements were responsible for derailing progress, Barak said peace “can emerge only from dialogue between partners.” Despite “turbulence all around us,” Barak said he is “still an optimist.”
Barak also referenced efforts to assist in the building of Palestinian institutions as part of a “state in embryo.”
In terms of Egypt, Barak said, it would be important for Israel to remain strong and “follow things very carefully.”