Foreign Minister Bob Carr today urged the incoming government of Israel to accord a high priority to the resumption without preconditions, of direct negotiations with the Palestinian people on a two-state solution.
"Israel's national elections reflect its proud democratic tradition," Senator Carr said.
"While a new coalition government has yet to be formed, Australia looks forward to continued close cooperation with Israel including on issues of regional peace and security.
"Australia strongly supports a negotiated two-state solution resulting in a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state.
"There is an urgent need for progress in this peace process.
"Resolution of the Israel- Palestinian conflict would also strengthen the forces of democracy and moderation throughout the Middle East."
Senator Carr's comments follow a joint Australia-United Kingdom communique on January 18 which:
- called on the United States to lead a major effort in 2013 to achieve a negotiated two-state solution with a secure Israel alongside a Palestinian state;
- called on the Palestinian Authority and the new Israeli government "to engage seriously in negotiations without preconditions"
- said "actions by both sides must be in the interests of peace"
- called on the Palestinian Authority "to exercise restraint and avoid provocative actions at international forums" following the Palestinian status vote in the United Nations
- urged the Palestinians "to resolve their internal differences, unite for peace and cease acts of violence against Israel;"
- called for the Palestinians "to abide by the terms of the Gaza ceasefire and to stop all rocket attacks" and
- called on Israel to stop settlement activity.
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