G8 backs Obama over 1967 borders

DEAUVILLE, France, May 27, 2011 (AFP) - The leaders of the world's richest countries were to give "strong support" on Friday to President Barack Obama's insistence that a Mideast peace deal be based on pre-1967 borders.

In a draft statement at the G8 summit in Deauville, northern France, the leaders urge the Israelis and Palestinians "to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues."

"To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011."

AFP - US President Barack Obama (C) and British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) speak with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf before an expanded group G8 Working Session at the International Center of Deauville

The draft was still being discussed on the summit's final day, but the section on Israel-Palestine was not expected to change.

In a keynote policy speech on May 19, Obama included a clear call for Israel and the Palestinians to use the borders before the 1967 Six Day War as the basis for talks to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict.

That was sharply rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would be "indefensible" if it returned to the borders which existed in 1967, which would not include dozens of settlements.

The G8 final declaration, seen by AFP, said "negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict. The framework for these negotiations is well known."

"Aspirations of the peoples in the region need to be heeded including that of the Palestinians for a viable and sovereign State and that of Israelis for security and regional integration.

"The time to resume the Peace Process is now."

The leaders called on both sides to abide by existing co-operation agreements "and to abstain from unilateral measures that could hamper progress and further reforms.

"We call for the easing of the situation in Gaza."

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