Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr today renewed calls for Palestinian and Israeli leaders to resume negotiations for an independent Palestinian state, alongside a secure Israel.
Senator Carr was speaking following talks today (overnight 7-8 August AEST) with Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and with Tony Blair as Representative of the "Quartet" – the United Nations, EU, United States and Russia.
"Australia has delivered a consistent message throughout these talks," Senator Carr said.
"That is there can be no peace without negotiations – and the only long-term outcome is a two-state solution with agreed national borders.
"This has been a principal subject of talks with Israel's President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
"It was also a central theme in discussions with Palestinian President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad and Foreign Minister Malki.
"I also outlined our opposition to ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.
"I emphasised to Palestinian leaders the need to prevent groups using Gaza to fire rockets into Israel. There is also a need for Hamas to accept Quartet principles including a renunciation of violence and recognition of Israel.
"Australia has a unique opportunity to contribute to these discussions, as a friend of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
"The challenges are huge but we have an obligation to lend our voice to this task."
In addition to its diplomatic role, Australia is a major contributor to assistance for the Palestinian people. Current allocations include more than $300 million over five years to support the Palestinian Authority and United Nations relief and development agencies in delivering local health, services and preparations for statehood.
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