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Mideast peace requires global effort: Palestinians

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The international community must step up efforts to help break the deadlock in Middle East peace talks, a senior Palestinian envoy said Monday, as Washington braced to try to revive the process.

"There are few conflicts of this importance in the world where we all want a solution," Leila Shahid, Palestinian ambassador to the European Union, told reporters at the United Nations' Geneva offices.

"We all know that the solution is a two-state solution," said Shahid, who was in Geneva for a human rights-focused film festival.

"Yet we are not able to implement this solution. I think one of the reasons is that the third parties have not really been efficient enough or mobilised enough," she added.

Palestinian-Israeli peace talks have been deadlocked for years.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas wants to renew peace talks in tandem with a freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and in east Jerusalem.

Shahid's comments came as US Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to hold surprise talks in Saudi Arabia with Abbas.

In addition, US President Barack Obama is set to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah during a visit on March 20-22, in what is seen as a crucial step towards reviving peace efforts.

"We've heard from Secretary of State Kerry that President Obama is coming just to listen to both sides," said Shaul Arieli, a retired Israeli army colonel turned peace campaigner, alongside Shahid.

"But we hope that a few weeks, or months, after that, we'll see a new initiative. Or rather, we hope the negotiation will resume from the point it stalled in Annapolis in 2008," Arieli added, referring to a round of talks in the United States.

"We need the support of the international community to do this," he underlined.

Shahid, however, cautioned against raising hopes for Obama's visit.

"For me, the real problem is the will on the part of the international community, which has been indifferent," she said.

"Regarding Obama, I don't think we can afford the luxury of inflating our hopes too much," she added.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130304/mideast-peace-requires-global-effort-palestinians