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Current Mideast negotiation points similar to past ones, Barak says

By the CNN Wire Staff
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in New York on Wednesday.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meets with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in New York on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Israel and the Palestinians started a new round of negotiations this month
  • Ehud Barak says an agreement will look similar to what has come before
  • He hopes that negotiations continue after moratorium on settlements is lifted

(CNN) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that if Israel and the Palestinians enter substantial negotiations, a solution could be hammered out within a year.

The final status would look a lot like previous failed attempts at negotiations over the years, he told CNN's Hala Gorani in an interview.

"I know what a real agreement will look like. You will need a magnifying glass to tell what is different from what was on the table 10 years ago and what is on the table now," Barak said.

Negotiations between the two sides kicked off earlier this month with a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Washington.

Video: Barak: We will reach an agreement
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A high-stakes issue in the early negotiations is the construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A moratorium on building settlements is set to expire at the end of the month, and what happens next could tip negotiations one way or the other.

Netanyahu needs something to show his cabinet that some continued restraint on settlement activity is worth it. And in order to justifying stay at the table, Abbas needs assurance Netanyahu is serious about the talks.

Barak said that he hoped that Israel could move from a moratorium to a mutually agreed compromise that meets Israel's "necessity of life" in areas where settlements exist.

He stopped short saying if Palestinians have agreed to stay at the negotiating table once the moratorium is lifted, but sounded hopeful that it will not ruin the talks.

"I think we will (continue to negotiate), I hope we will, I pray we will," he said.

 
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