February 14, 2013 - 1:00am

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riad al-Maliki said here Thursday that Palestine was willing and ready to engage in peace process with Israel if it could show more of readiness in the process.

Al-Maliki made the remarks at a press conference after the first meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestine Development (CEAPAD).

He said Palestine has been "very much willing and ready to engage into peace process with Israel," but emphasized that the process depends on the attitude of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We expected that he (Netanyahu) will show more of readiness to re-engage into the process," he said.

Al-Maliki also said he expected the Middle East trip by U.S. President Barack Obama and a potential one by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and hoped the "important visits" could show their willingness to recommit themselves to see if there is any possibility to restart the peace process.

Obama will pay his visit to Israel, West Bank and Jordan late next month on regional issues, while Kerry also vowed after he became U.S. top diplomat that he will push forward the peace process between Palestine and Israel.

But the foreign minister is cautious to tell Palestinian expectations on Obama's visit and a potential trilateral meeting involving leaders from Israel, Palestine and the United States due to failures of previous attempts.

"What we would make this time different from previous ones depends on the willingness of Israeli side to commit itself seriously in the process of negotiation..everything depends on how Israel will behave," said al-Maliki.

"We had trilateral meeting in New York two years ago but nothing really happened," he said, "We are not really ready to repeat any kind of events if they are not prepared well" and the events could not produce any result.

The CEAPAD, which is sponsored by Japan, aims at coordinating cooperation between East Asian countries to support Palestine development in economic and financial areas.

The second CEAPAD meeting will be held in Indonesia next year.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017