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US in new push for Mid-East peace

 

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the Middle East for talks aimed at unblocking the peace process. She met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the United Arab Emirates before heading to Jerusalem to see Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Speaking earlier to the BBC, Mrs Clinton said a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians remained a “high priority” for the United States. The US remains committed to plans for a two-state solution, Mrs Clinton added.

Before Mrs Clinton’s arrival in the region, Mr Netanyahu said he hoped for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians as soon as possible. However, a key sticking point is Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement building on the occupied West Bank.

During their talks, Mr Abbas told Mrs Clinton that Palestinians would not agree to re-launch peace talks with Israel without a complete freeze of Jewish settlements, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said on Saturday.

Mrs Clinton’s visit is part of a weekend of discussions to try to restart the stalled peace process. “This is a high priority for not only our administration but for much of the world. It is one of the most common questions that I am asked,” Mrs Clinton stressed. “The fact that I’m in the region… reinforces the seriousness with which we are approaching our desire to get the parties to begin a serious negotiation that can lead to a two-state solution.”

The Palestinians had been emboldened by earlier American talk of the need for a settlement freeze, the BBC’s Tim Franks in Jerusalem says. Mrs Clinton has said that there is little point in the US wanting negotiations more than the parties themselves and our correspondent adds that there appears little sense of urgency from the Israelis and the Palestinians.

 

Source: GBC NEWS

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