By Ria Novosti
Israel accepted on Sunday a call by the Quartet of international Middle East mediators to resume direct negotiations with Palestinians without preconditions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
“Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” the statement, issued after Netanyahu held consultations with senior cabinet ministers, said.
“While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time. Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay.”
Last Friday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked the United Nations to recognize a state for his people in a move which reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks.
The Quartet, which includes the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, responded to Abbas’s application by calling Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks, which collapsed a year ago over Israel’s settlement building, within a month.
Abbas has said he would not negotiate with Israel again until it stops settlement building in the occupied West Bank, which the Palestinians see as part of their future state. There has been no formal Palestinian response to the Quartet’s initiative, which includes a call to both sides.