PM commends PA, urges direct talks

Netanyahu tells the cabinet talks are starting without preconditions.

Netanyahu cabinet 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Netanyahu cabinet 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning congratulated the Palestinian Authority on agreeing to enter proximity peace talks
At the start of the cabinet meeting, the prime minister stressed the government’s success in insisting that the Palestinians enter the negotiations without preconditions, and the need to quickly progress to direct talks.
“I’d like to stress two points in this context: the talks are taking place without preconditions, as we insisted all along” Netanyahu said. “The proximity talks must lead to direct talks as soon as possible."
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He went on to say, "Peace cannot be brought from a distance or by remote-control, especially as we are such close neighbors. These agreements, crucial to Israel’s future and that of the Palestinians, will not be reached without us sitting and negotiating in the same room. We must achieve peace and security so that we are able to live side by side with the Palestinians for generations.”
The prime minister also spoke of the government's decision to grant Jerusalem Development Area A status, as a way of reaffirming its commitment to the capital.
Netanyahu's comments came as Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat announced that theproximity talks had begun, after a meeting between PA President Mahmoud Abbas and US Mideast envoyGeorge Mitchell.