Cameron to Netanyahu: Renew Peace Talks
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday urged his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to reopen peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, AFP reports.
At the two met for the funeral of former British leader Margaret Thatcher, they also discussed ways to deepen economic relations between the two countries and the ongoing Syrian crisis, the report said.
"The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of efforts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process for the future of Israel and the Palestinians and the region," said a read-out of the meeting issued by Cameron's office.
"He (Cameron) said that it was essential to create the conditions for successful negotiations by improving the economic and security situation on the ground...as well as ensuring Israel's security from rocket and other attacks," the red-out said, according to AFP.
The two leaders agreed that Syria's civil war posed "grave humanitarian and security risks". They pledged to work closely to find ways to end the crisis and also agreed on the need to maintain pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, according to the statement.
Thatcher was laid to rest on Wednesday with military pageantry and pockets of protests, in a funeral attended by Queen Elizabeth II and representatives from 170 countries.
Also on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry once again warned that time was slipping away to reach a Middle East peace deal, and for the first time said there may only be a year or two left.
Appearing before U.S. lawmakers for the first time since becoming America's top diplomat in February, Kerry said his three trips to the region already were proof of his commitment to try to find a way to resume peace talks.
U.S. President Barack Obama said last week that he believed there was a "window of opportunity" to kickstart the Middle East peace process, after Kerry dubbed his talks with Israeli and PA leaders as "very constructive.”
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has refused to come to the negotiating table and has continued to impose preconditions on talks.
Abbas told visiting Kerry that Israel should freeze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and release terrorist prisoners, especially those arrested before the 1993 Oslo Accords, before any resumption of peace talks.
Abbas also wants Netanyahu to present a map of the borders of a future Palestinian state before talks can resume, but a top political official in Israel has said this was out of the question.