U.S. opposes unilateral steps by Israeli or Palestinian side: spokesman

10:20, October 16, 2010      

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The United States opposes unilateral steps either by the Israeli or Palestinian side when peace talks remain deadlocked, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said on Friday.

"We have said many, many times there are critical issues involved in this process, they need to be negotiated between the parties, and we oppose unilateral steps on either side," Crowley told a press briefing at the State Department.

He was commenting on the prospect that the Arab League may ask the United Nations next month to recognize the Palestinian state.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Friday in Brussels that "If Israel does not respect the settlements freeze, the Arab League will study some other option aside from the peace process such as going to the United Nations and ask for the recognition of the Palestinian state."

The Arab League countries last week gave Washington one month to revive peace talks between Israel and Palestine, which have remained deadlocked since mid-September over Israel's refusal to extend a freeze on settlement building in the West Bank.

"We continue to promote direct negotiations as the best way to resolve the conflict and see the emergence of a Palestinian state that meets the aspirations of the Palestinian people and security and stability for Israel and the rest of the region," Crowley told reporters.

Asked on Israel's approval of building some 238 new Jewish housing units in East Jerusalem and a tacit understanding between the U.S. and Israel regarding this issue, Crowley replied that "we were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in East Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties. The government of Israel is well aware of our concerns about this. We will continue to work as we have to try to create conditions for direct negotiations to resume."

He said the United States is still evaluating what the " appropriate next steps" are.

Source: Xinhua


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