Barak: US to soon unveil regional peace plan
Israel should enthusiastically endorse comprehensive peace plan to be presented by American president, Defense Minister Barak tells Knesset committee; 'I hope that in the coming months we will see negotiations launched on all fronts,' he says
"In the coming weeks, the Americans will complete their meetings with the various parties in the region and formulate their position," Barak said during a Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. "After that they will present a plan for regional peace."
"In my opinion, Israel should enthusiastically join the initiative," Barak added. "I hope that in the coming months we will see negotiations launched on all fronts as result of a regional peace initiative by President Obama, with the Palestinian issue at its core."
The defense minister expressed his hope that the initiative would also affect ties with Syria and Lebanon.
'Cornerstone of Israel's foreign policy' Referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan speech, Barak said the PM's words made it clear that Israel was "committed to a regional deal, that we honor agreements signed by previous governments, and that Israel accepts and endorses the vision of two political entities co-existing in peace, security, and cooperation."
Stressing the importance of Israel's relations with the US, Barak said the ties constitute a "cornerstone of Israel's foreign policy."
"We maintain intimate dialogue on a variety of issues for the purpose of stimulating Obama's plan for comprehensive regional peace," he said, adding that settlement blocs will remain in Israel's hands under any future agreement, while Palestinian refugees will remain outside Israel.