Netanyahu calls for talks

JERUSALEM - Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu yesterday called on Palestinians to restart peace talks after Washington backed his stance on rejecting a settlement freeze ahead of any negotiations.

JERUSALEM - Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu yesterday called on Palestinians to restart peace talks after Washington backed his stance on rejecting a settlement freeze ahead of any negotiations.

"I hope very much that the Palestinians will come to their senses and enter the peace process," Netanyahu, pictured, said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting. "The peace process is an Israeli interest as much as it is a Palestinian one."

The hawkish premier spoke a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hailed his "unprecedented" position on settlements and backed his call that negotiations should resume despite the Palestinians' insistence that Israel should first freeze all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

"What the prime minister has offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements... is unprecedented," Clinton said. - Sapa-AFP

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