Israel’s negotiating team for the peace talks with the Palestinians will meet on Monday with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the world body’s headquarters in New York, as the two sides prepare to resume negotiations after a three-year deadlock.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s envoy Isaac Molho landed in New York a short time before their meeting with Ban, which is scheduled for 10:30 A.M. EDT (5:30 P.M. Israel time). The purpose of the meeting is to brief the UN chief on what led to the renewal of Middle East peace talks.
Livni and Molho will stress during the meeting that Israel believes direct negotiations with the Palestinians is the only solution to the conflict, a senior Israeli official told Haaretz. They will ask Ban for support in the peace process and to help prevent unilateral actions in the various UN agencies over the course of the negotiations.
The dinner will be relatively informal and is intended primarily to establish a friendly atmosphere. However, a senior Israeli official noted that the parties will begin discussing the agenda for negotiations during dinner.
The delegations will also meet with Kerry again in the State Department building Tuesday to continue talks on the principles for conducting the negotiations, the issues up for discussion and a timetable for further meetings. At the end of the day, a joint press statement will be read out by the secretary of state that will officially declare the start of negotiations.
The meeting in Washington was made possible after the cabinet voted Saturday to release 104 Palestinian prisoners who were involved in the murder of Israelis. At the end of a five-hour debate, 13 ministers voted in favor, seven voted against and two – Limor Livnat and Silvan Shalom – abstained.