Thursday, August 20, 2009

FM: Settlement construction frozen, but not indefinitely

Aug 20, 2009

SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region World

The foreign minister clarified, however, that Israel would not tolerate this situation for an extended period of time, and said that Jerusalem was waiting for the next round of talks with the US on the matter.

His comments echoed those of senior diplomatic sources quoted in The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday, who said US Middle East envoy George Mitchell was well aware that the Netanyahu government has not approved any new buildings in the West Bank since taking office. They signaled that a de facto settlement freeze had already been in effect for more than four months.
Speaking to journalists at a Russian-language press conference, Lieberman went on to say that he will attend the UN General Assembly in New York in September, where he will meet with Mitchell, and expects an answer from him on the settlements issue.

'US aware of de facto settlement freeze'
Drawing borders is the first step

He also told reporters that the US congress should look into issues such as human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. "There are many issues in the world to deal with, apart from just the Middle East," he said, specifically listing North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, is scheduled to meet with Mitchell on August 26 in London to discuss the settlement issue and the diplomatic process.

US officials said recently that the US and Israel were making progress on the issue and heading toward a conclusion.

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