27 Aug 2009

Israeli PM acknowledges talks needed

11:29 am on 27 August 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed with a key US envoy that "meaningful" talks must start with Palestinians.

But after talks in London there has been no sign of progress on the vexed West Bank settlement issue.

In a joint statement with America's Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Mr Netanyahu said Israeli and US officials will meet again next week in the United States to pursue efforts to revive the moribund peace process.

The BBC reports Wednesday's meeting in London followed talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, when Mr Netanyahu rejected any construction freeze in occupied East Jerusalem.

He reiterated his demand that the Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state.

After meeting Mr Mitchell in London, Mr Netanyahu travelled to Berlin, the next stop on a four-day European tour.