Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands defy Gaza demonstration ban in Paris

    Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

Middle east

Impasse on settlements as Netanyahu arrives for talks in Berlin

Video by Shirli SITBON

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-27

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Berlin following talks with US special envoy George Mitchell in London where the two agreed on the need for "meaningful" talks with Palestinians, but made no progress on the settlement issue.

AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed with a key US envoy Wednesday that "meaningful" talks must start with Palestinians, but there was no sign of progress on the vexed settlement issue.
   
In a joint statement with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, the hawkish Netanyahu said Israeli and US officials will meet again next week in the United States to pursue efforts to revive the moribund peace process.
   
"The prime minister and George Mitchell agreed that there is a need to begin meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians in order to move towards a regional peace agreement," said the Hebrew-language statement.
   
"The two also agreed that all sides should take practical steps to advance peace," they said after four hours of talks, adding: "Israeli officials will meet Mr. Mitchell again next week in the United States."
   
But after talks in London in which Netanyahu sought to relieve international pressure, there was no immediate sign of progress on the US call for a freeze on Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
   
The statement was issued at the end of the visit to London, during which Netanyahu also met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and shortly before the Israeli leader left for Berlin where he will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.
   
At the start of the talks with Mitchell -- renowned for his role in Northern Ireland's peace process -- Netanyahu said he hoped "we will shortly be able to resume normal talks" with the Palestinians, according to his spokesman.
   
Mitchell has pressed hawkish Netanyahu to freeze Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, where the Palestinians want to build their future state.
   
With the international community backing the US demand, the Israeli prime minister finds himself trying to placate intense diplomatic pressure while keeping together his right-leaning coalition government.
   
Briefing reporters travelling with him, Netanyahu said "the question of the settlements is a problem, but the main problem is the (Palestinian) refusal to recognise Israel as the Jewish state."
   
Netanyahu also said that "the common goal" was to end the decades-old Israeli-Arab conflict and reach regional peace.
   
Israel and US officials are eyeing a three-way summit between Obama, Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas next month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to signal the relaunching of peace talks.
   
First launched in 1993, the talks were halted last December after Israel launched a military offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
   
The Palestinians today condition the return to the negotiation table on a full Israeli settlement freeze.
   
Netanyahu has rejected a total freeze, insisting on the need to guarantee "normal life" in settlements which are home to 500,000 Israelis.
   
The Guardian newspaper in London reported Wednesday, however, that Israel was nearing an agreement on a partial settlement freeze in exchange for tougher international sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.
   
Mitchell is trying to get Arab states to make gestures towards Israel.
   
According to officials, Netanyahu wants Saudi Arabia to open its air space to Israeli aircraft and to engage in low-level diplomatic ties.
   
Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad said the Western-backed Palestinian Authority plans to establish its own de facto state within two years, regardless of the peace process.
   
 

Date created : 2009-08-27

COMMENT(S)