Blair urges both sides to return to talks

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Downing Street urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the bargaining table after the weekend suicide attacks.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that "the only way" to end the violence in the Middle East was to resume peace talks. He said that "we all have to look at what we can do to move forward".

"The Prime Minister believes that we have all got to do what we can to try to resolve the differences in the Middle East," he said. "With a situation like this, it is encumbent on both sides to do what they can.

He added: "This is obviously a particularly difficult moment and no one is under any illusion about the problems ahead and the difficulties, which are considerable.

"But the Prime Minister would urge both sides not to give up on dialogue because in the end, no matter how long this goes on, people will have to discuss these issues around the table to make progress.

"The fixed points are a state of Israel secure in its own borders and a viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace. It is important to recognise that politics is the way forward and not to give up. We regret all the violence which is happening in the region."

On Sunday, Jack Straw spoke both to Mr Arafat and Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres about the issue.