BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged European Union parliamentarians on Tuesday to support U.S.-backed peace talks with the Palestinians rather than promote separate initiatives.
“Even if it takes more time, we do not need intervention by the international community with bridging proposals,” she said in Brussels.
“The eagerness of the international community can lead to a failure that nobody can afford,” added Livni, who hopes to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a February election.
Israel and the Palestinians launched U.S.-sponsored peace talks in Annapolis, Maryland, last year with the hope of reaching a deal by the end of 2008.
The talks have been hobbled by violence and bitter disputes over Jewish settlement building and the future of Jerusalem, and all sides have said the year-end deadline will not be met.
Livni said what Israeli and Palestinian negotiators needed was for the international community to support the existing talks, not to bring their own ideas.
“The only way in which we can support the process, and that can be the role of Europe, is not by bridging gaps or relating to your position on core issues, I think that this is destructive … but to support the process.”
Israelis generally see the Europeans as overly sympathetic to the Palestinians, and look to the United States as the main powerbroker.An EU proposal to deploy an international force in the Palestinian territories was coolly received by Israel.
Livni said that Palestinians said behind closed doors that, since 2000, “this is the best year in terms of relationship between Israel and the Palestinians…”
“I am determined to continue these negotiations,” she told the EU lawmakers, during a hearing which was sometimes tense over issues such as the humanitarian situation in Gaza and Palestinian refugees.