'For peace, you have to meet directly'

Spanish FM Moratinos delivers European message in Jerusalem.

Moratinos Lieberman 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Moratinos Lieberman 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A day before a critical meeting of Arab League Foreign Ministers in Cairo to discuss whether to support direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos sent a clear European message Wednesday that it was time now to enter direct talks. 
"It is true that if you want peace, if you want a final settlement, you have to meet directly. I think it is the best way to go forward," Moratinos said at a Jerusalem press conference after meeting Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
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Moratinos called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to meet "urgently, directly, and without preconditions," and said that this opinion reflected the position of the international community.
Abbas has recently sent signals that he wants the proximity talks to run their course through September, and has given no indication of an intention to enter direct talks, despite intensive international pressure to the contrary. If he does want to go to direct talks, support of the Arab League will be critical.
Moratinos, who arrived Tuesday for a two day visit during which he will recieve an honorary doctorate from Al Quds University, will also meet Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Tzipi Livni before going to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian officials. Moratinos met with Abbas in Amman Tuesday.
Lieberman made clear at the press conference that Israel had no intention of continuing with the settlement construction moratorium after it expires September 26.
Moratinos did not rule out Lieberman's plan to get massive international involvement in building major infrastructure projects in Gaza -- such as a power plant, a sewage treament plant, and a water desalination plant -- so that Israel could cut off all its ties to the area.  Moratinos said that these ideas needed to be discussed, as well as ways to ensure movement and access, and that the EU Foreign Ministers who are expected to visit Gaza in the first week of September will come with some ideas on the matter.