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Palestinians should not set more conditions for peace talks: Israeli FM

English.news.cn   2014-03-06 03:27:26

JERUSALEM, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday that the Palestinians should not make further demands for the advancement of the peace talks with Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"We are willing to listen and talk, but we will not accept conditions," Lieberman said at a meeting at the Tel Aviv institute of Certified Public Accountants.

"There will be no conditions," he added. "Those who want to set conditions should look for other partners."

The U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians started in July, with a framework of nine months, set to expire by the end of April.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing recently to introduce a framework agreement that would extend the talks throughout the end of 2014.

The framework agreement discusses the core issues to be settled, including the future Palestinian state's borders, security arrangements, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees who fled their homes amid the 1948 war.

The talks have been clouded by some disagreements, mainly due to Israel's settlement construction in the West Bank on lands it occupied following the 1967 War, and its insistence on being recognized as a Jewish state by the Palestinian authority.

Israel had also made some stern security demands, mainly accepted by the United States but rejected by the Palestinian government.

Palestinian officials had demanded in recent days that Israel should freeze its settlement construction and release more Palestinian prisoners to advance the talks.

On Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama attacked Israel's ongoing settlement construction, saying that it would be hard for his country to defend Israel to "manage the international fallout" against it if the talks fail.

Obama met on Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, in a bid to push Israel into accepting a framework agreement. The U.S. president said ahead of the meeting that Israel needs to make some "tough" decisions to move forward the peace talks.

Netanyahu, on his part, said in response that "Israel has been doing its part and, I regret to say, the Palestinians have not. ( Israel had) uprooted entire settlements and released hundreds of Palestinian terrorists."

Israel had thus far released 78 Palestinians prisoners out of a total of 104 in three rounds, starting from August. The waves of release were accompanied by Israeli announcements to build thousands of more housing units in the settlements.

Israel had frozen settlement construction for a period of nine months in 2009 and evacuated some isolated outposts, but had not officially announced any settlement construction halt.

Editor: yan
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