Peres Meets Qatari FM in Washington
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres met his Qatari counterpart Wednesday night at the request of the Qatari minister, who said his country “was alarmed at the level of Israeli-Palestinian violence [and] wanted to see peace negotiations resume, and that Israel, as the strong side in the conflict, should make the first move towards ending the escalating situation,” said Haaretz newspaper.
It was the first high-level meeting between the Gulf state and Israel since the Intifada uprising erupted last September.
Qatar closed down an Israeli trade office in the capital, Doha, in November in solidarity with the Palestinians and to persuade heads of state to attend a meeting of the Organiazation of the Islamic Conference.
Peres went to the hotel suite of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani and said he looked forward to hearing the minister's views and counsel, the paper cited him as saying.
"For us in Qatar, we are very keen to find a way to stop the violence and try to again put the peace process on the right track," Sheikh Hamad told reporters in the corridor.
"I think violence cannot solve the problem. The problem has to be solved by both parties meeting at the table and this is the effort we are trying to [make] with Mr. Peres and we are keen to exchange views about the issues," he added.
Peres is leading Israeli diplomatic efforts to resume talks with the Palestinians, based broadly on Egyptian-Jordanian proposals that call for a cease-fire, confidence-building measures and implementation of past agreements, leading to talks on the final status of the West Bank and Gaza.
Asked what had changed to make the meeting possible, Sheikh Hamad said "Things are changing in a bad way. We need to turn it back to be on the right track. I think the situation now is alarming us and we are looking now to bring peace." – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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