Norway Applauds Direct Peace Talks between Israel and Palestina

Støre affirmed that Norway urges the parties to respond to the US invitation positively, and to seize this opportunity to make progress in the negotiations. -This will put the peace process back on track, he said.

The US has announced that agreement has been reached on the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The negotiations are expected to start on 2 September 2010. The announcement followed an extended period of uncertainty as to whether the parties would return to the negotiation table. There have not been direct talks between the parties since December 2008.

«I was pleased to learn of the resumption of direct talks. The negotiations will be very challenging, but I think both parties have now realized that not engaging in negotiations and dialogue is not a viable alternative. It is positive that the US intends to engage directly in the talks,» Støre said.

Norway chairs the AHLC donor group, which coordinates the international community's support for Palestian intitution-building in preparation for a two-state solution. According to the Palestinian Government's two-year plan, these efforts are to be concluded by the autumn of 2011. The donor cooperation has a political objective, and is contingent on the Israelis and Palestinians negotiating an agreement that resolves their territorial conflict. The AHLC's next meeting will take place in New York on 21 September.

«In my meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during the past few days, we have discussed the political situation in detail. As chair of the AHLC donor group I will do my utmost to support this process,» said Foreign Minister Støre.

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