‘Proximity Talks’ Opportunity for peace in Middle East: Biden

In the course of a visit to the region, US Vice-President Joe Biden has said that there exists ‘moment of real opportunity’ to establish peace between Palestinians and Israel, reported BBC.

Biden said that he hoped the agreement to commence indirect talks would a vehicle using which the two sides could ‘allay that layer of mistrust that has built up’, report said.

“I hope it is a vehicle, a vehicle by which we can begin to allay that layer of mistrust that has built up in the last several years,” he was quoted as saying while talking to reporters before meeting Israeli President Shimon Peres.

He said that the agreement to hold four months of indirect, so called ‘proximity talks’, was a chance to revive the peace process, said report.

“I think we are at a moment of real opportunity, and I think that the interests of the Israeli and Palestinian people, if everybody stops and takes a deep breath, are actually more in line than they are opposites,” Biden was quoted as saying.

During the proximity talks, negotiating teams will meet separately with the US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who will shuttle between them.

BBC reported quoting its correspondent that no-one on either side is, however, talking with any great optimism about what the indirect talks might achieve.

Just before Biden’s arrival, Israel provoked Palestinians by giving approval to 112 new homes in the occupied West Bank, report said.

In reaction, Palestinian officials blamed Israel for attempting to undermine the talks.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to hold direct negotiations with the Israeli government for more than a year because of its refusal to put a complete stop to building Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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