Israel says direct negotiations best path to peace

Face-to-face negotiations are still the best path to peace with the Palestinians, an Israeli official said Saturday, dismissing calls for a new peace plan as premature.

Updated: Jan 01, 2011, 21:47 PM IST

Jerusalem: Face-to-face negotiations are still the best path to peace with the Palestinians, an Israeli official said Saturday, dismissing calls for a new peace plan as premature.

Yesterday, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called for the international community, spearheaded by the peacemaking Quartet of the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union, to come up with a new approach.

"We demand that the Middle East Quartet and the various UN bodies, headed by the Security Council, draft a peace plan which conforms with international law, instead of keeping up negotiations which do not solve the problem," he said, without elaborating.

But Shahar Azrami, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, disagreed.

"Israel has been quite adamant in the last few months in trying to get the Palestinians to sit with Israel around the negotiating table and only once this option is exhausted should we think about trying to reach new solutions," Azrami told.

"We haven`t reached the moment yet, at least as far as Israel is concerned, in which we give up negotiations," he said.

PTI