Ma'an News Agency
November 24, 2009 - 1:00am

Caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said the Israeli refusal to bring settlement construction and activity to a complete standstill as the central reason for the stall in peace talks, during a news conference on Tuesday alongside German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

During their meeting in Ramallah, Fayyad and Westerwelle discussed the peace process and what is needed to overcome the obstacles in front of it. Fayyad highlighted his own efforts to prepare for the establishment of a Palestinian state capable of serving the Palestinian people.

The prime minister also emphasized the need for the Palestinian Authority to undertake further efforts to declare a sovereign Palestinian state and ensure the implementation of the Road Map agreement.

Westerwelle, for his part, pledged continued German support for the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority, applauding Fayyad’s caretaker government for its efforts in preparing viable Palestinian institutions for the future Palestinian state. There are also reports of German mediation between Israel and Hamas for the release of a captured Israeli soldier in exchange for 1,000 Palestinians ahead of the Eid Al-Adha holiday that starts Friday.

Israeli media reported on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking cabinet approval for a partial settlement freeze in the West Bank over a 10 month period, excluding east Jerusalem despite the Road Map’s proviso and the Obama administration’s demand that a total settlement halt comprises east Jerusalem.


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