Israeli negotiator defends her meeting with Palestinian Prez Abbas

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Israeli negotiator defends meeting Abbas
Jerusalem, May 20: Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni has defended her meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in London last week amid criticisms accusing her of acting on her own behalf and not for the Jewish State.

"To all those politicians up in arms, I want to be clear, we'll continue doing what we believe in, and that's what I did last week by meeting with the president," Xinhua quoted Livni as saying to members of her Hatnua faction at the Knesse Monday, according to a statement from her office.

"We're still here and the Palestinians are still here. Our interest is to resolve the conflict, and ignoring reality isn't really an option. Ignoring the other side is irresponsible," she added.

Livni also said that direct negotiations are the best way to reach a resolution and that she will "continue to advance the Israeli interest out of concern for the future," while adding Israel "cannot ignore the agreement between Fatah and Hamas."

The Israeli negotiator met with Abbas Thursday a couple of weeks after Israel announced it suspended its negotiations with the Palestinian Authority following a reconciliation agreement signed between the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions, the latter of which Israel has branded a terrorist organization committed to its destruction.

According to reports in Israeli media, officials at the prime minister's office said, although Netanyahu knew of the meeting in advance, Livni acted on her own and did not represent the government.

IANS

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