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Member of Palestinian Legislative Council: Talks with Israel can not start without stopping settlement construction

Politics Materials 19 March 2010 22:27 (UTC +04:00)
If the Palestinian Authority starts indirect talks without suspension of the Jewish settlements, the situation in the peace process will remain unchanged, said Mustapha Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
Member of Palestinian Legislative Council: Talks with Israel can not start without stopping settlement construction

Azerbaijan, Baku, March 19 / Trend , U.Sadikhova/

If the Palestinian Authority starts indirect talks without suspension of the Jewish settlements, the situation in the peace process will remain unchanged, said Mustapha Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

"The Palestinians must take a unified position: unless construction of [Jewish] settlements is stopped completely, they will not begin indirect talks with Israel, Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Trend in a telephone conversation from Ramallah. - Nobody has the right to demand the Palestinians to start talks without stopping construction of settlements".  
Members of the international "quartet" on the settlement of the Middle East situation - Russia, U.S., EU and the UN - on Friday called on the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government to start indirect talks, which should lead to the launch of direct dialogue.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at a joint press conference in Moscow confirmed the commitment of the Quartet to indirect talks, which are the only way to restart direct talks to discuss a final agreement on reconciliation between Palestine and Israel, Russia 24 television channel reported.

Meanwhile, the members of the Quartet condemned the decision by the Israeli government to build 1,600 new housing units for Jewish families in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as capital of a future state, and urged the immediate cessation of settlement activities, including those areas where it is done for natural growth of Jewish population of Israel - the main demand of the Palestinian Authority to start negotiations.

According to members of the Quartet, indirect contacts between the Palestinians and the Israelis mediated by the United States will continue for 24 months and should eventually lead to direct negotiations.

Israel has not yet made an official statement regarding the future of the settlements, which have caused differences in the relations with the United States.

In a telephone conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated his readiness to make concessions to restart the peace process, but also it has not yet been officially stated what concessions Israel is ready over the settlements.

According to the Palestinian public figure Barghouti, the Quartet of international mediators should take immediate sanctions against Israel, otherwise the situation with the peace process will remain unchanged.

According to Barghouti, the Quartet mentioned the need to comply with paragraphs of Roadmap of 2003, according to which, Israel should stop building new homes in the West Bank. However, up to now, Israel has not ceased building settlements, so the complicated situation in the peace process is the result of Israeli policies, Barghouti added.

"Therefore, the Quartet should compel Israel to stop building settlements, otherwise its mediation role will not bring to any results," he said.

Touching upon statements by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on intention to hold negotiations with Arab countries for the approval of beginning indirect talks, Barghouti said that nobody has the right to push the Palestinians to the negotiating table on the backdrop of the ongoing construction of settlements.

"In this case, any pressures should be directed not to the Palestinians, but to Israel," said the representative of the ruling Fatah.

The future fate of the peace process will be discussed this weekend during U.S. special representative George Mitchell's visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Mitchell was supposed to go to the region on last Tuesday, however, the world's media reported that the trip was postponed due to the discord of the Israeli government with the U.S. administration and the Palestinian leadership because of new construction in East Jerusalem, but the State Department denied this information.

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