FM: Bilateral steps will bring peace

Lieberman tells Blair, if Fayad's plan to create a Palestinian state is promoted, "Israel will respond."

Lieberman whoa hold it right there 248.8 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Lieberman whoa hold it right there 248.8
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday told Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana that bilateral initiatives, rather than unilateral steps taken by the Palestinian Authority, would promote peace in the region. "Palestinians' unilateral initiatives do not contribute to a positive dialogue between the parties, and if the unilateral initiative presented by Salaam Fayad is promoted, Israel will respond," Lieberman said, referring to a plan present by the PA prime minister to establish a de-facto Palestinian state in the West Bank by the end of 2010. The foreign minister rejected the idea of setting a time-frame for an overall peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which he said had "in the past given rise to disappointment and frustration," leading to conflict. Fayad's plan, which was unveiled last week, calls for the establishment of a Palestinian airport in the Jordan Valley and reopening Yasser Arafat Airport in the Gaza Strip. In addition, the plan envisages PA control over Atarot Airport near Kalandya Refugee Camp north of Jerusalem. According to the plan, the Fayad government will work hard to build institutions and infrastructure in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the future state. The government also pledges to work toward "reuniting" the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Fayad said instead of waiting for a final peace agreement with Israel, the Palestinians should pursue their efforts to build a state of their own. Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report