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U.S. envoys back to Middle East for shuttle diplomacy

(Xinhua)

09:11, September 14, 2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that she is sending back U.S. envoys to the Middle East region to shuttle between Israeli and Palestinian leaders on ways to stop the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations.

"I'm sending David Hale and Dennis Ross back to the region in the next days to meet with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas," Clinton said at a joint press conference with visiting Romanian Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi at the State Department.

Hale, U.S. special Middle East envoy, and Ross, a special advisor to Clinton, met last week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but failed to make any breakthrough.

The Palestinians made their final decision last Thursday on approaching the United Nations later this month to request the recognition of a full membership of the state of Palestine established on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Clinton reiterated that the route is wrong. "The only way of getting a lasting solution is through direct negotiations between the parties and the route to that lies in Jerusalem and Ramallah, not in New York," she said.

"We are redoubling our efforts not only with both sides but with a broad cross-section of the international community to create a sustainable platform for negotiations that can produce the two-state outcome," she added.

The Obama administration has threatened to veto any Palestinian move at the UN Security Council. President Barack Obama said on Monday that the Palestinian effort to seek statehood at the UN was a "distraction."

Obama put Israeli-Palestinian conflict on his top agenda after taking office in January 2009, but direct talks between the two sides broke down only weeks later after its restart in early September last year.

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