Brown to hold talks with Israeli premier

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown will hold talks on the Middle East peace process with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu today.

The Israeli premier is taking part in a series of meetings to discuss the situation in the region during a European tour.

He will hold talks with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell in London tomorrow, then visit German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin the following day.

He is likely to face renewed demands to halt the expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory.

Mr Brown has repeatedly called for a freeze, warning that the issue of settlements is an obstacle to peace in the region.

They have continued to grow despite a moratorium on them being one of the key planks of the 2003 "road map" agreement.

On Sunday Mr Netanyahu indicated that stalled peace talks between his government and the Palestinians could resume in September.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he hoped those people meeting Mr Netanyahu this week would call on Israel to stop building homes on occupied land.

He said: "What we're dealing with here are prerequisites to success. We're dealing with issues that do not exceed doing what is minimal in order for the process to begin to make sense.

"All we're discussing is to stop settlement activity, to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

"Unless we do this decisively and convincingly, how are we to expect people on both sides of this divide to buy into the process?"