Year 2009 must mark progress in conflict resolution in Middle East: Tony Blair
Belgium, Brussels, April 1 / Trend , A. Ismayilova/ Year 2009 must mark progress in the resolution of the Palestine-Israel conflict in the Middle East, Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair said in Brussels on April 1.
New U.S. administration and formation of a new government in Israel makes start of the talks possible, he said. In order to hold talks program on the West Bank must be designed which will enable Palestinians to go into this territory and change position on the Gaza Strip, he added.
Palestinian population faces restrictions to move freely in the West Bank. Palestinians sometimes are not allowed to go out of the country.
The EU Commissioner on External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner confirmed EU's intention to launch talks with the new Israeli government and expressed concerns with restricted entrance to Gaza.
On March 30, Israeli leftist party leader Binyamin Netanyahu officially assumed post of prime minister. Though he supports continuation of a peace dialogue with the Palestinian Autonomy, he opposes establishment of the Palestinian state claiming that economic situation on the West Bank must be improved and Hamas control over Gaza must be ceased before its is established.
"We are concerned that Gaza population still suffers," Waldner said. The European Union expects Israel to fulfill its commitments, she said.
Israel's major commitments are support for establishing Palestinian state, lifting blockade on Gaza Strip and ceasing construction of Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
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