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Japan calls for settlement freeze

Dec. 11, 2010 7:59 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 12, 2010 3:27 P.M.)
GAMMARTH, Tunisia (AFP) - Tokyo wants Israeli settlements to be stopped in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and a freeze on any future developments, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Saturday.

"Japan calls for an immediate end to and a total freeze on Israeli settlements even in [East] Jerusalem," he said at an economic forum organized by Japan and the Arab League at Gammarth near Tunis.

Maehara also urged a resumption of peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians and nuclear disarmament worldwide.

Peace talks were thrown into deeper disarray on Tuesday when Washington conceded it had failed in its weeks-long efforts to persuade Israel to renew a freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.

US President Barack Obama presided over the relaunch of direct talks in Washington in September, only to see them stall within weeks when a settlement moratorium expired and the Palestinians refused to return to the table.
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