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Spain asks Israel to foster peace talks

Madrid, April 09: Spain has asked Israel to take "necessary steps" to begin a dialogue with the Palestinians as soon as possible, even as Lebanon warned of an "implosion" in the Middle East if a new peace process fails. "A failure in that peace process means that an implosion could occur in the Middle East, extremism will flourish in all corners of the region," Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri said at a joint press conference with the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Thursday.

Madrid, April 09: Spain has asked Israel to take “necessary steps” to begin a dialogue with the Palestinians as soon as possible, even as Lebanon warned of an “implosion” in the Middle East if a new peace process fails.

“A failure in that peace process means that an implosion could occur in the Middle East, extremism will flourish in all corners of the region,” Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri said at a joint press conference with the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Thursday.

Zapatero, meanwhile, said he was confident the Union for the Mediterranean Summit, to be held in June in Barcelona, will contribute to stimulating the dialogue process, halted by the recent Israeli announcement that it will build more housing for its citizens in occupied Palestinian territory.

The Spanish Prime Minister emphasised the international consensus regarding the need for a negotiated solution to the conflict.

Zapatero emphasised the “central” role of Lebanon and said it can help in a “very direct” way to achieve advancement toward peace.

Meanwhile, Hariri warned that “time pressure” exists in the matter, and insisted that “another failure will be unacceptable”. He said he had confidence that the international community will follow the efforts the Spanish government – which he called an “authentic partner” for the region – is making.

Peace will only be achieved, he said, when Palestinians have their own state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

–IANS

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