'Direct talks before freeze ends'

Defense minister calls Netanyahu-Obama meeting an "important step."

barak and fayyad inspired 311 (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry)
barak and fayyad inspired 311
(photo credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday called for direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority before the freeze on settlement construction ends.
Speaking to Army Radio, Barak called Netanyahu's Tuesday meeting with US President Barack Obama "an important step," and said that hopes of peace had been reopened.

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Barak said that "the moment direct talks begin, all other obstacles will take on the proper proportion."

"We shouldn't lose hope of the light at the end of the tunnel and we are entering a significant diplomatic process. The [US] president and the prime minister wouldn't have started if it was going to be just a nice photo op."
Referring to freeze on settlement construction, Barak said that he "believes that the main outcome of the meeting is to be open to direct talks before the end of the freeze period.

"I think that once we were in direct talks, everything else, all the other obstacles will take on the proper proportion. The main thing is the question of whether these negotiations will have a result. There's a long way to go."