JERUSALEM (JTA) — Avigdor Lieberman said there is no chance of ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years.
The Israeli foreign minister made the statement Thursday morning, just hours before he met with George Mitchell, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East. Mitchell met earlier with President Shimon Peres and was scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Foreign Ministry staff called Lieberman’s afternoon meeting with Mitchell "very good," but did not release details.
Israel and the Palestinians should work toward an interim agreement and leave a long term agreement for "much later," Lieberman told Israel Radio Thursday morning.
Also Thursday, the Foreign Ministry political staff submitted its recommended foreign policy for the next few years stating that there is no point in trying to reach a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, but that it was important to reach an interim agreement, according to Ynet.
"We’re going to continue with our efforts to achieve an early relaunch of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians," Mitchell told reporters Thursday morning before meeting with Peres.
"This is the time for progress; it’s time to get down to business," Peres said.
Mitchell is scheduled to meet Friday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and over the weekend with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.