By AFP – 3 Sept 2010
CERNOBBIO, Italy — The Arab League’s secretary general Amr Mussa said on Friday negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should be given a chance, but wondered whether Israel was ready for “real peace.”
“We see the negotiations start, let us give them a chance,” Mussa told AFP at the Forum Ambrosetti, an annual political and economic summit in Cernobbio, on the Lake of Como in northern Italy.
“I don’t want to be pessimistic on the first day of negotiations,” he added.
“Let us see what kind of compromise (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is offering, we have never heard from the Israeli side any initiative or any concrete position,” Mussa said.
Mussa wondered whether Israel was ready to accept “a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.”
Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas have vowed to meet twice a month in a bid to hammer out an accord, after on Thursday launching the first direct negotiations in 20 months a meeting in Washington.
US President Barack “Obama can, he said it, this is his motto, ‘yes we can’ and this has to cover the Arab-Israeli conflict too,” Mussa said.
Ahead of Thursday’s Washington meeting, Mussa said there was widespread pessimism in the region about new peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.