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Israel govt must restart peace talks:Solana

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MOSCOW, Feb 11 (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Wednesday the next Israeli government must restart serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

"I think if we continue in a crisis management mode, if we don't enter into a conflict resolution mode it will be going back and back again," Solana told Reuters in an interview.

"It will have to be a government ready to continue to restart a very serious process of negotiation," Solana said after talks in Moscow with Russian officials.

Following Tuesday's elections in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party and Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima party both claimed victory. It was not clear who would be able to form a government.

Both the EU and Russia are members of the Middle East peace quartet along with the United States and the United Nations that has been trying to nudge both sides in the Middle East conflict back to the negotiating table.

"I think we have to see how the government is formed," said Solana, who suggested it could take up to a month to form a new administration.

"I hope very much, whatever is the government, that it's a government which is committed to negotiations," Solana said.

Palestinians are still dealing with the fall-out of Israel's 22-day land, sea and air assault in Gaza, which killed 1,300 Palestinians and left thousands more wounded or homeless. Most conflict ended weeks before the elections were held.

Israel said the operation was to curb rocket fire by militants into southern Israeli cities from Gaza. The coastal enclave has been ruled by Hamas since 2007, when it fought the Fatah faction of U.S.-backed leader Abbas.

Livni remains the Foreign Minister of the outgoing government that sanctioned the attack until a new administration takes office. (Reporting by Conor Sweeney; Editing by Charles Dick)

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