Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

Middle east

Two-state solution is only 'viable' option, says US envoy

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-11

After talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, US envoy George Mitchell reiterated his call for Palestinian statehood, calling a two-state solution the "only viable resolution to this conflict".

Reuters - U.S. envoy George Mitchell assured the Palestinians on Wednesday of Washington’s commitment to a state of their own, calling its establishment the only viable solution to their conflict with Israel.

 

Mitchell, speaking after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urged both sides to meet their obligations under a 2003 peace “road map” that commits Israel to halting settlement expansion and Palestinians to reining in militants.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama had made it clear “the only viable resolution to this conflict is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states”, Mitchell said.

 

His comments highlighted a rare rift in U.S.-Israeli relations. Netanyahu has not publicly endorsed Palestinian statehood and has said construction will continue in existing settlements in the occupied West Bank.

 

Reiterating remarks he made in talks with Israeli leaders on Tuesday, Mitchell said in the West Bank city of Ramallah that Washington was seeking “prompt resumption and early conclusion” of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

 

“We are now engaged in serious discussions with Israelis, Palestinians and other regional partners to support this effort,” he added, before continuing the latest leg of his mission on a tour taking him to Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

 

Speaking later after meeting Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, Mitchell said Washington sought “a comprehensive regional peace which not only involves Israel and the Palestinians, but Syrians, the Lebanese and all the surrounding countries”.

 

Settlement freeze

 

Abbas, after his talks with Mitchell, made no comment to reporters. The Palestinian leader has said talks with Israel will be useless unless Netanyahu accepts a two-state solution and freezes settlements.

 

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement the United States had “made clear its intention to reinvigorate Middle East peace talks, as well as its expectation that both parties implement their obligations under the road map”.

 

He said Israel’s failure to fulfil its obligations under existing agreements had undermined the credibility of the peace process.

 

Obama’s emphasis on meeting obligations was “an important litmus test of fairness and balance”, Erekat said.

 

An aide to Abbas said the U.S. position was “encouraging” but Israel’s position was “obscure and disappointing”.

 

Netanyahu, who leads a conservative government that could face collapse if he halts settlement construction, is scheduled to set out his position in a speech on Sunday.

 

While Mitchell visited the West Bank, Netanyahu’s security cabinet met in Jerusalem to discuss a possible easing of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, territory controlled by Hamas Islamists opposed to U.S. peace efforts.

 

An official statement said the forum examined “additional ways to make life easier for the Palestinian population in Gaza and at the same time safeguarding Israeli security interests”.

 

But the statement gave no indication whether more goods would be allowed into the Gaza Strip through Israeli border crossings as the United States and European countries have urged.
 

Date created : 2009-06-10

COMMENT(S)