Israel’s Livni Says Committed to Peace Talks

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in her first policy address since being nominated to form Israel’s next government, underlined on Sunday her commitment to continue peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

"Annapolis will continue," Livni said, referring to a U.S.-sponsored peace conference last November that restarted negotiations on a Palestinian state.

"Let us not allow dates or political changes to stand in our way," she said in an address at a policy conference at Israel’s Foreign Ministry also attended by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.

"We see that the next months are maintaining a level of uncertainty and that level of uncertainty is getting higher and higher," Malki said in his English-language address to the forum at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have expressed doubts they could meet Washington’s goal of reaching at least a framework peace deal by the end of the year, before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office.

Livni, Israel’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians, was asked by President Shimon Peres on Sept. 22 to form a new government in 42 days following the resignation, under a cloud of corruption allegations, of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert, who launched the current peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, remains prime minister in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed, either through a coalition deal or an early election.

(Reuters via Alarabiya)

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