Egypt blames Israel for impasse

Egyptian leader blames Israel for peace stalemate with Palestinians and warns against security by "occupation or arms".

    Israel's refusal to freeze settlement construction has led to a deadlock in peace talks with the Palestinians [Reuters]

    Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has blamed Israel for the stalemate in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

    He singled out the construction of Jewish settlements on lands the Palestinians want for a future state as the main reason behind the stalemate.

    Speaking before a joint session of the Egyptian parliament's two chambers, Mubarak called on the US and other Mideast peace brokers to "assume their responsibility" to break the deadlock in negotiations.

    He warned Israel, which Egypt has a 1979 peace treaty with, that the security of its people depended on peace rather than "occupation or arms".

    "We warn against the consequences of intransigence, Israel's positions and policies on the stability of the Middle East and of the world.

    "I say that Israel must assume responsibility for the halt in the negotiations. It must know that the security of its people will come about through peace, not by force of arms or settlements" in occupied land, Mubarak said in his speech.

    He told Egyptian legislators the "international action is currently not up to facing these consequences and dangers".

    "I say that the United States and other members of the international Quartet (the United Nations, the European Union and Russia) must assume their responsibilities in a serious and effective manner to end the current impasse."

    Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians were re-launched in the US on September 2, but ground to a halt three weeks later when Israel refused to extend a moratorium on West Bank settlement construction.

    Israel has built dozens of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem over the past four decades to buttress its control there.

    The international community considers the settlements to be illegal.

    Israel annexed east Jerusalem immediately after the 1967 war, a step not recognised internationally, while the West Bank remains under military occupation.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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