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Familiar sounds in Mideast peace calls

Sunday, October 02, 2011 - 02:01

Oct. 2 - Israel welcomes efforts by international mediators to resume peace talks; with Palestinians calling for settlement halt before talks. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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Israel backs calls by international mediators to resume peace talks with the Palestinians. Government spokesman Mark Regev SOUNDBITE: Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev, saying: (English): "Israel welcomes the decision by the Middle East Quartet, calling for the immediate resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks without preconditions. This is a positive development and Israel is willing and has been willing for the immediate resumption of talks. We hope the Palestinian side would pick up the ball and we will indeed see the restarting of the Middle East peace process." The Quartet -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- responded to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's application for full Palestinian membership at the U.N.by urging both sides to resume talks within a month. Abbas has said he would not hold negotiations with Israel again until it halts settlement building in the occupied West Bank. SOUNDBITE: Palestinian Liberation Organization Committee member, Abbas Zaki, saying: (Arabic): "It is unacceptable to let ourselves down while the whole world is supporting us. The world supports a stop to settlements, because settlements and peace are two parallel lines that do not meet. So if Netanyahu goes on, that means that he had executed the idea of two-state solution. Therefore we, as well as all the nations, understand that Israel is the one who is responsible for the instability in the Middle East." Complicating international efforts to resume talks that collapsed a year ago over the settlement issue, Israel announced plans Tuesday to build 1,100 new homes on annexed land near Jerusalem. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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Familiar sounds in Mideast peace calls

Sunday, October 02, 2011 - 02:01