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Palestinians for peace talks with Israel, says Maliki in Prague

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Prague, June 17 (CTK) – Palestine is interested in returning to the negotiating table with Israel and the renewal of the peace process that would lead to the establishment of two states in the Middle East, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki said in Prague Wednesday.

Maliki had a meeting with his Czech counterpart Lubomir Zaoralek.

Zaoralek, who recently visited Israel, said the two sides of the conflict wanted to resume the talks that had been stagnating for a long time, to which they were being forced by external threats, too.

Zaoralek said at a press conference after the talks that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had assured him in early June that Israel was interested in returning to the negotiating table, provided the Palestinian side does not set any preliminary conditions.

“Here, too, I have heard that the Palestinian side is interested in maintaining the basic imperative, which is the peace process and a two-state solution and that it is ready to return to the negotiating table,” Zaoralek said.

He repeated that the Czech Republic could see no alternative to the solution to the Middle East conflict but a resumption of the peace talks on the basis of which a Palestinian state would be established alongside the Israeli state.

Maliki said it was too soon for the peace negotiations to be held in Prague as suggested by Zaoralek some time ago.

Later Wednesday, Maliki also met President Milos Zeman.

They discussed the current political situation in Palestine after its government had stepped down, Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said.

Israeli ambassador Gary Koren said Israel understood the expectations associated with the resumption of the peace talks, although many expectations are being laid on Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East.

He said Israel would be happy if some fears and expectations were also addressed to the Palestinian side.

Koren said Palestinians had to recognise that the solution was not only the establishment of two states, but of two national states.

Maliki said Palestinians trusted the Czech Republic as a friend of both countries that would contribute to a better understanding and creation of better conditions for the renewal of the talks that would end the occupation.

They will enable peace and prosperity in the region by the creation of the Palestinian state that will exist in peace and security alongside the Israeli state, he added.

Maliki said they shared the same vision.

Zaoralek said he believed Israelis and Palestinians had some reasons to reopen the frozen talks.

“The situation changes there and they have a number of joint interests,” he added.

“Both of them are very strongly threatened by much more extremist forces,” he added.

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