Livni: Time is of the essence in PA talks

FM says continuing talks important despite tenuous nature of Israeli gov't, Palestinian gov't weakness.

Livni lovely 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Livni lovely 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
It is important to continue talks with the Palestinians even in spite of the tenuous nature of the Israeli government and the weakness of the Palestinian one, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday. Speaking in advance of a visit by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice next Tuesday, Livni added that, given the increasing power of extremists, time is of the essence to reach an agreement with the Palestinians. The only possibility to reach an agreement is with the leadership that exists now in the Palestinian Authority, she added. Livni declined to specify any details of the negotiations currently taking place, stating that there was an agreement between the parties to keep the talks confidential. "We want to reach an agreement that at the end we can find the words 'end of conflict,'" she said. When asked if she agreed with statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel was in danger of collapse if an agreement was not reached, she responded sharply, "No." She added, though, that "the State of Israel is not going to be finished. Israel is here and it is going to exist and we are going to solve our problems, including the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and this needs to be understood."