Arabs push Israel for final talks

Arab League ministers discuss peace initative in Israel for the first time.

    Livni, centre, said the top-level meeting
    presented an "historic opportunity" [AFP] 

    'Sick and tired'

     

    Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the West Bank, said that many Arab diplomats were concerned that the "Arab initative will not be kept as a whole" but would instead be simply a "talking point".

     

    She said: "This peace process has been going on for almost 13 years and people are sick and tired of hearing about meetings and negotiations and conferences without seeing concrete results."

     

    Reaching out to the Palestinians and Arab states, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, sent the clearest signal yet that he would try to restart talks on the final status of a Palestinian state with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

     

    "We need a precise timetable, a quick timetable and we urge Israel not to waste this historic opportunity. Time is not on our side," Abdel Illah al-Khatib, the Jordanian foreign minister, told a news conference at the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem.

     

    'Just solution'

       

    Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, said it was not sufficient for Israel to limit talk to what diplomats call a "political horizon", defined by Olmert's aides as the legal, economic and governmental structures of a future Palestinian state.

     

    "I don't see [that] as enough because the horizon often, if not frequently, is never reached," he said.

     

    Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, told Israel's Channel 10 television that talks should include "issues that go beyond the immediate" with the goal of achieving "the broadest agreements possible at this time".

       

    Wednesday's visit was the first by Arab League representatives to promote their peace plan, which offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for a full withdrawal from the lands it seized in the 1967 Middle East war, creation of a Palestinian state and a "just solution" for refugees.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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