Barak to King of Jordan: Peace Is a Strategic Israeli Objective

Defense Minister meets with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman ahead of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington later on this week.

With Mideast peace talks due to restart in Washington this week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Jordan' King Abdallah on Sunday to offer assurances that Israel is committed to a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

"Peace is a strategic objective for Israel," Barak told the king. "We expect the Palestinians to come to the peace talks with openness."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak with King Abdullah II of Jordan, Ariel Harmoni, August 29, 2010
Ariel Harmoni

The king spoke about the need to arrive at a two state solution, urging both parties to move quickly to negotiating the 'core issues' - the borders of a future Palestinian state, the rights of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their capital.

Peace between Israel and the Palestinians could have a knock-on affect across the Middle East, Abdullah said. 

"This will be the real guarantee for security and stability in the region," he said. "Everyone must invest efforts in order to make the negotiations succeed in the fastest way possible."

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed hope for the upcoming Washington summit, saying that the parties could reach a stable peace that could last for generations.

But Palestinian negotiators remain skeptical ahead of the talks, as Israel has yet to respond to their demand to continue a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank, due to expire in late September.