Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

#WeAreHere: "Ghost" Soldiers of the Somme

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Liberia UNMIL mission: UN to hand security control to government

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Chaos and confusion after Brexit, Istanbul Airport attack (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Bitter Divorce: Chaos and confusion after Brexit (part 1)

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Extinction crisis: Saving the planet's species from an irreversible fate

Read more

#THE 51%

Unlocking the code: Women refugees offered classes in coding

Read more

#TECH 24

Viva Technology!

Read more

ENCORE!

Marcia Gay Harden, a down-to-earth Hollywood star

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France’s Camargue region and its herdsmen

Read more

Middle east

US says settlement freeze is not prerequisite for peace talks

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-28

The United States said Friday that an Israeli freeze on settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem was not a prerequisite for restarting peace talks, insisting that the goal must remain simply "getting to the negotiations".

AFP - The United States indicated Friday that its calls on Israel to freeze settlements were not a precondition for restarting Middle East peace talks, as the Jewish state held firm in its refusal.
   
President Barack Obama's administration insisted it was not changing its stance, which has caused friction with the close US ally, that Israel halt all settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
   
But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the main US goal was to relaunch talks between Israel and the Palestinians, who will decide for themselves on the contours of a peace deal.
   
"The United States position on settlements, we've said it many times, we haven't changed it," Crowley said.
   
But he added: "The key here is getting to the negotiations."
   
"Remember what we are trying to achieve here," he said. "We are hoping to get to a formal negotiation through which we can reach a resolution between the Israelis and the Palestinians as part of our ambition to see comprehensive peace in the Middle East."
   
A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged Israel's right-leaning prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has resisted the settlement demands.
   
The United States is waiting to see whether the Palestinians and other Arabs support holding peace talks nonetheless, the official said.
   
"We've set a high bar and the objective here is how close to that bar can you get," the official said.
   
"We have our very strong views which we have enunciated about what we think it necessary. But if you get close to that and the parties themselves say this is okay," then Washington will not complain, the official said.
   
Netanyahu met Wednesday in London with the US special envoy on the Middle East, former senator George Mitchell, without any breakthrough.
   
An Israeli delegation is expected to travel next week to New York for further talks with Mitchell.
 

Date created : 2009-08-28

COMMENT(S)