Israeli FM says unrealistic to reach peace deal with Palestinians within two years

13:59, January 05, 2010      

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday poured cold water on a reported two-year time frame for his country and the Palestinians to realize peace, saying that the goal is unrealistic.

"It is not possible to reach a full agreement within two years... This is not a realistic goal. We need to begin direct talks without committing to any time frame," local daily Ha'aretz quoted Lieberman as saying at a meeting with Tony Blair, envoy of the Middle East Quartet of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

"It is important to hold an honest, open dialogue with the Palestinians without sowing delusions that are disconnected with reality and that will only lead to violence and frustration... In the past, timetables were set and not met and this led to violence," added the foreign minister.

The remarks came as reports emerged on Egyptian media that the U.S. government under President Barack Obama is about to bring forth a plan that would see the Jewish state commit itself to the establishment of a Palestinian state within two years following the relaunch of peace talks with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has bogged down since Israel launched a massive military operation against the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008. Two of the core issues, namely settlements and East Jerusalem, have become major obstacles to the resumption of the stalemated process.

Recent weeks have seen Cairo stepping up mediation efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PNA President Mahmoud Abbas holding talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak respectively in last week and on Monday.

Egyptian officials are also expected to visit Washington in this concern ahead of U.S. special envoy George Mitchell's scheduled trip to this region later this month.

Source: Xinhua
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