Netanyahu assures Czech FM he's committed to PA talks

Likud leader stresses that his idea of "economic peace" is not a replacement for political talks.

netanyahu bibi boyish 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
netanyahu bibi boyish 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Likud head Binyamin Netanyahu assured Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Monday that he would continue diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians Authority if he wins the election in February and that those negotiations would take place alongside what he has called efforts to achieve "economic peace." Netanyahu met in Jerusalem with Schwarzenberg, whose country is to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union in January. According to Zalman Shoval, the head of the Likud's foreign relations department who was in on the meeting, Netanyahu stressed that his idea for "economic peace" was not a replacement for the political talks, but rather meant to create a foundation and positive atmosphere that would augment those talks. Shoval said the overarching idea was to create a better livelihood for the Palestinians and try to solve their day-to-day economic problems so that there would be less of an inducement for younger Palestinians to take part in terrorist activities. "This could be a conduit for a political settlement," Shoval said. Netanyahu and Schwarzenberg discussed the possibility of creating a joint body with the EU and the Palestinians to discuss this type of economic development. In addition to the Palestinians, Shoval said the two men also discussed Iran, with the Czech minister saying that "judging by our own history you don't have to tell us about your worries and concerns, we understand them very well."