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Israel ''No quick fixes'' to peace with Palestine

Written by: Staff

JERUSALEM, Sep 11: Israel today dismissed an Egyptian call to fix a border for a Palestinian state before resolving other issues, saying the sides should first take confidence-building measures under a US-backed plan.

''There are no magical quick fixes,'' Mark Regev, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said of Egypt's proposal to bypass some requirements of a 2003 ''road map'' that has so far brought few results.

Negotiations on Palestinian statehood collapsed in 2000 after the failure to agree on an eventual border. A Palestinian uprising began soon after the talks failed.

Explaining Egypt's proposal, Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit said in Cairo yesterday that: ''If we agree on a Palestinian state, its borders and its parameters, then we can deal from there, through negotiations, to try and achieve this aim.'' The Egyptian idea is similar to a concept proposed by King Abdullah of Jordan.

Regev said Israel wanted to ''reengage with'' the Palestinians and that both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have announced a readiness to hold their first summit.

But Israel wants to stick to the road map, which calls first for confidence building steps by both sides.

Neither side has carried out commitments under the first phases of the plan. Israel has not frozen settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and the Palestinians have failed to start disarming militants.

Chances for talks dimmed further after Hamas Islamists took over the Palestinian government in March. Hamas, whose charter calls for Israel's destruction, is under a US-led aid embargo to try to force it to recognise Israel and renounce violence.


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