Barak to Blair: Israel looking for breakthrough in talks

Defense minister tells Quartet representative that Israel welcomes him as part of international effort and says both sides will need to make "courageous decisions."

Barak Blair 311 (photo credit: Defense Ministry)
Barak Blair 311
(photo credit: Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Tuesday with Quartet representative Tony Blair and told him that Israel hopes for a breakthrough in the negotiations with Palestinians.
Barak was referring to the recent Quartet announcement that direct negotiations will resume by telling Blair that Israel cordially welcomes him on his visit as part of the Quartet's efforts, along those of the United States and others, to bring about a breakthrough in negotiations.
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"Israel and the Palestinians will need to make courageous decisions during the negotiations," Barak added.
Barak said that "Israel is prepared to do so, while safeguarding its vital interests, and we hope that the other side will find the strength to do so as well."
Barak and Blair's meeting comes after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Friday that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians were set to commence at the beginning of September and within a year should lead to the resolution of all final status issues.
Clinton said she had invited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington on September 2 “to re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues, which we believe can be completed within one year.”