Defense Minister: Israel, U.S. must draft Mideast peace plan
Barak calls for immediate consolidation of agenda for talks, even if conditions are 'not perfect.'
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday called on government officials to coordinate with the United States in order to renew negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as soon as possible.
"We must work with the American administration and consolidate an agreement to open negotiations as soon as possible, even if the conditions aren't perfect and even if we have to make difficult concessions," said Barak.
Barak made a similar plea during U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell's visit to the region earlier this month.
"The time has come to move forward to start the process and pass all of the obstacles, because this will help everyone," Barak said at the start of his meeting with Mitchell. "No obstacle is impassable."
"We need to begin real negotiations on an accord between us and the Palestinians while protesting the security interests of Israel, which will enable the realization of the solution of two states for two people," he added, following the October 8 meeting.
The defense minister also said then that Israel was a "partner" in U.S. President Barack Obama's peace initiative for a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East, and wished to work toward a two-state solution as soon as possible.
Mitchell told President Shimon Peres earlier that day that he was hopeful that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians can be restarted soon, and that Obama is committed to bringing peace to the region.
"We're going to continue with our efforts to achieve an early relaunch of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," Mitchell told reporters before a private meeting with Peres in Jerusalem.
He added this was an "essential step" toward achieving comprehensive peace in the region.