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Israel's foreign minister to participate in Moscow Mideast talks

RIA Novosti

19:3302/06/2009 MOSCOW, June 2 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday that he would attend a Moscow Middle East peace conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"My Israeli colleague has confirmed his readiness to participate in preparing and holding the Moscow conference on a Middle East settlement," Lavrov said.

Russia has repeatedly stated its readiness to hold a conference on Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts. The conference's agenda and date are still being determined. However, before leaving for Russia, the Israeli foreign minister said that the conference could be held at the end of summer or in the fall.

Lavrov said that Medvedev and Lieberman had agreed that preparations for the conference should be accelerated. He also said that Lieberman had confirmed his readiness to hold talks with the Palestinians.

"On behalf of the new Israeli government, the minister confirmed his commitment to all earlier agreed on peace talk deals," Lavrov said.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority stalled following an Israeli offensive on Gaza in December which left some 1,300 Palestinians dead and 5,000 others injured.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pushed for a two-state solution to the conflict, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a tougher stance toward the Palestinians, in contrast to his predecessor Ehud Olmert's support for Palestinian statehood.



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