PM: Peace talks could resume in weeks without preconditions
Speaking at Herzliya Conference, Netanyahu praises Palestinian efforts to improve economy and build institutions, appeals to them to accept resumption of efforts toward peace accord.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he had reason to believe that long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians could resume in a matter of weeks.Netanyahu did not give details, but an Israeli official indicated Israel would take a step to make it possible for the Palestinians to agree to talks.He did not give details and spoke on condition of anonymity because no offer has been made.Palestinians have been insisting that Israel halt all settlement construction before peace talks are restarted. They rejected a partial 10-month moratorium Netanyahu imposed in late November as insufficient, because it does not include east Jerusalem.Netanyahu was speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference."I have reason to hope realistically that in the coming weeks we will restart peace talks with the Palestinians without preconditions," he said.Netanyahu praised Palestinian efforts to improve their economy andbuild institutions, but he appealed to them to accept a resumption ofefforts toward a peace accord. "If this willingness indeed exists, wewill see resumption of the process in the coming weeks," he said.NoPalestinian comment was immediately available. Palestinians have saidthey are considering an offer by US envoy George Mitchell to start around of shuttle diplomacy with Israel.