FM Upbeat Ahead of Mid East Talks
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has urged US, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to narrow their differences ahead of a Middle East peace conference due to be held in the US this week.
In an article entitled ”Last Chance for a Two-state Solution”, published in Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, Bildt warns that failure at the talks could worsen the situation in the region ”dramatically”.
Representatives from some 40 countries are due to attend the conference, which starts on Tuesday, and is hosted by American President Bush at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are seeking to agree a joint statement in a bid to revive the peace process, which has been deadlocked since former US president Bill Clinton attempted to broker a final settlement in 2000.
Bildt argues the meeting represents a last chance to secure a two-state solution.
While the Israelis and Palestinians remain divided on key issues, Bildt says he is quietly optimistic about the outcome of the talks, citing a fundamental change of attitude in the leaders of the two sides particularly in the past year.