U.S. invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders to direct peace talks in Washington

09:49, August 21, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Friday the United States has invited the Israeli and the Palestinian leaders to launch Middle East peace direct talks on Sept. 2 in Washington D.C..

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a statement to the press at the State Department in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Aug. 20, 2010. Hillary announced on Friday the United States has invited Israel and the Palestinians to launch Middle East peace direct talks on Sept. 2 in Washington D.C. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)

"I have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas to meet on Sept. 2 in Washington D.C. to relaunch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues," Clinton said at a State Department special press briefing, joined by U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

Clinton said that the peace negotiations can be completed within one year, adding the talks should start without precondition.

She also said U.S. President Barack Obama has invited Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Mubarak to attend, "in view of their critical role in this effort."

Clinton said President Obama will hold bilateral meetings with the four Middle East leaders, followed by a dinner with them on Sept. 1. The Quartet representative, former British prime minister Tony Blair, has also been invited to the dinner.

"There have been difficulties in the past. There will be difficult times ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles, " said Clinton, admitting the process will be tough.

Meanwhile, the Middle East Quartet, namely the United Nations, Russia, the U.S., and the European Union, issued a statement on Friday.

In the statement, the Quartet said all the direct, bilateral negotiations should "lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors."

The Quartet also stated the peace talks can be completed within one year.

The United States has been pressuring the Palestinians and Israelis to start direct peace talks by September, deeming it the only way to strike a peace deal.

Netanyahu said he is ready to sit down face-to-face with the Palestinians but refuses to accept any precondition.

However, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will not jump to direct talks, which halted in 2008, before achieving progress on security and border issues.

Recently, Abbas has indicated he could go to direct talks if they were based on a Quartet March statement, which called for establishing the Palestinian state based on borders that existed before 1967, setting a time frame for negotiations and suspending all Israeli settlement activities.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was apparently placated by Clinton's "no precondition" remarks, hailed on Friday the U.S. invitation immediately after her announcement.

The Palestinian side on Friday welcomed Quartet's statement and Abbas has called for an urgent meeting for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to respond to the U.S. call.

Although the direct talks are believed to be underway soon, the prospects of the peace process remains murky.

"It will be difficult, as the number of issues between both sides are many. But the fact that direct talks are taking place is a step in the right direction," Andrew Tabler, a Middle East expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Xinhua.

It is hoped that the resumption of direct negotiations can give Netanyahu's central-right coalition some ground to extend Israel's 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement constructions which expires on Sept. 26. Abbas has feared all efforts would be wasted if the settlement building started after direct talks began.

"I think the U.S. administration has developed much better ties with Israel over the last few months, which would help avert past announcements of settlements at unexpected times that could be detrimental to diplomacy," said Tabler.

Starting the direct talks in Washington marks a temporary but important success for Obama who has put Middle East peace process among his diplomatic priorities and spent more than a year bringing the two sides together.

"He believes progress on Arab-Israeli peace helps to sweep the rug out from under Iran and other actors in the region detrimental to U.S.," he said.

Source:Xinhua
【1】 【2】 【3】

(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Staff members watch a screen showing the blast-off of the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
  • Chinese President Hu Jintao watches the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and Zhou Yongkang, are also present. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • The graphics shows the launch procedures of the carrier rocket of Tiangong-1 space lab module, Long March-2FT1 on Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Lu Zhe)
  • Image taken from Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasting off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua)
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
Hot Forum Discussion