Monday, June 29, 2009

Barak-Mitchell meeting soon

From Ynet News, 29/6/09, by Roni Sofer:

... defense minister [Barak] heads to US ...expected to say freeze on settlements can only be part of genuine renewal of talks between Jerusalem, Ramallah

"The settlements will not be an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians." That is the message Defense Minister Ehud Barak will be carrying with him on his upcoming trip to meet with special US envoy George Mitchell....

...Six cabinet ministers will meet on Monday morning to discuss the US and European demands to freeze the settlements, just a few short hours before Barak heads to meet Mitchell. The six ministers – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Minister Benny Begin, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor – will meet in Netanyahu's office.

The government is leaning towards saying any move to freeze construction can only be part of renewed dialogue with the Palestinians.

...Barak will also emphasize other gestures Israel has recently made to show its intentions are serious, such as the removal of 140 roadblocks and the opening of numerous checkpoints from peripheral villages to main roadways in the West Bank – making it possible to drive from Jenin to Ramallah in an hour and half, and without passing through any obstructions. The US administration has already voiced its appreciation of the measures.

Barak will also discuss the transfer of security oversight to the Palestinian Authority in four West Bank cities – Ramallah, Jenin, Qalqiliya, and Jericho, and improvements to water and road infrastructure.
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