Letta discusses peace deal in Israel

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Prime Ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Enrico Letta meet in Israel. Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Pool/AFP
17:11 CEST+02:00
Prime Minister Enrico Letta has expressed hope that US-led peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians would be fruitful, while on a three-day visit to Israel.

"We hope, of course, that we will try all together, and you, first of all, the Palestinians and Secretary John Kerry - you'll be able to find a solution," Letta said, according to a transcript from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.

Kerry's efforts, Netanyahu said, "deserve consistent and constant European support, and I'm sure that Italy will give that support."

Speaking at the start of talks with Letta, Netanyahu reiterated his readiness to begin talks with the Palestinians.

"We have to get into the [negotiations] tent and stay in the tent and seek to end this conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. That's our goal," he said in comments relayed by his office.

His remarks came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry ended an intensive four days of talks with Israel and the Palestinians on his latest visit aimed at coaxing them back into direct negotiations after a nearly three-year hiatus.

Just before ending his fifth visit to the region in as many months, Kerry insisted there had been "real progress," although there was little indication the parties were any closer to sitting down face to face.

The Italian leader arrived in Israel late on Sunday for a visit which comes as the Israeli foreign ministry stepped up strike action in a move which has impacted on multiple foreign visits over the past few months.

Ahead of the visit, foreign ministry officials had urged Letta to postpone it, saying it could be disrupted by the strike, the Haaretz newspaper reported last week.

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Foreign ministry staff have been demanding an improvement in working conditions and an increase in their salaries which have not been raised for the past 12 years.

Last week, disgruntled ministry workers reportedly tried to disrupt a visit by the Georgian prime minister by demonstrating in areas he was to pass through, the paper said.

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