Naharnet

Egypt Calls for 'End Game' in Mideast Peace Talks

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit urged the international community on Wednesday to call an "end game" in Middle East peace talks and set clear deadlines for reaching Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

"The Egyptian view is as follows: Let's agree on an end game," Abul Gheit said after talks in Sofia with his Bulgarian counterpart Nikolay Mladenov.

"The end game is that the international community, the Quartet -- the Americans, the European Union, the Russian federation as well as the United Nations -- would agree on parameters for the settlement (between the Israelis and Palestinians)," he said.

The U.S. admitted defeat on Wednesday in its efforts to secure an Israeli freeze on West Bank settlement building, a key condition of the Palestinians for resuming peace talks.

Israeli and Palestinian officials are expected to visit Washington next week for separate talks with the U.S. administration on ways to keep the peace process alive.

But Abul Gheit warned that time was limited for reaching a two-state solution to the conflict.

"We continue talking without settlement and we continue haggling without doing any breakthrough, then in a few years there will not be the possibility of two states living side by side," Abul Gheit said.

He urged the drafting either by the United States, the Quartet (U.N., U.S., EU and Russia) or a group of experts of "a framework agreement -- two pages, three pages of grand understanding -- to be offered by the international community to both parties telling them: come forward and negotiate on such basis and on specific time."

"You cannot just have an unlimited period of time," Abul Gheit said.

"I think that the Americans are serious, they want to do business but it is the Israeli obstinacy that is not allowing them to reach that point," he added.

Abul Gheit's trip to Sofia Wednesday came just a day ahead of a similar visit to the city Thursday by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Source: Agence France Presse


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