Hague warns on Mid East peace talks

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Governments should not see instability in the Middle East as a reason to pull back from peace talk efforts between Israelis and Palestinians, William Hague says

Governments should not see instability in the Middle East as a reason to pull back from fresh efforts to restart peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, William Hague has warned.

The Foreign Secretary said the international community, including the US, should support the 1967 borders as “the basis for resumed negotiations”.

The issue of Israel’s borders, redrawn after its military seized land during the Six-Day War, is at the heart of its dispute with the Palestinians.

He called on the Israelis and Palestinians to show the “visionary boldness” to return to talks and make “genuine compromises”, while also warning of the “grave danger” of Iran’s nuclear programme and its denial of free expression to its people.

Given Tehran’s refusal to engage with the international community, Britain was looking at “steps to increase the legitimate peaceful pressure” on Iran, Mr Hague said.

He said: “There is also a serious risk that governments will draw the wrong conclusion from instability in the Middle East and pull back from efforts to restart the peace process between Israelis and the Palestinians. We should draw the opposite conclusion which is, we need to see an urgent return to talks so that people’s legitimate aspirations for two states can be fulfilled through negotiations.”

He told MPs: “Our Government is a friend to both Israelis and Palestinians.

“We are calling for both sides to show the visionary boldness to return to talks and make genuine compromises. Talks need to take place on the basis of clear parameters.

“In our view the entire international community, including the US, should now support 1967 borders as being the basis for resumed negotiations.

“The result should be two states, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both and fair settlement for refugees.”

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