U.S. to continue Israeli-Palestinian settlement even in failure

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Washington will continue to support the Israeli-Palestinian settlement process even though it is difficult and may fail, U.S. President Barack Obama said at a press conference on Friday.

Washington will continue to support the Israeli-Palestinian settlement process even though it is difficult and may fail, U.S. President Barack Obama said at a press conference on Friday.

"That doesn't mean it's going to work," Obama said. "Ultimately, it's going to be up to them. We can facilitate. We can encourage. We can tell them that we will stand behind them."

The talks are "a risk worth taking," the U.S. President said.

"[Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas and Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu were here last week, and they came with a sense of purpose and seriousness and cordiality that, frankly, exceeded a lot of people's expectations. What they said was that they were serious about negotiations. They affirmed the goal of creating two states living side by side in peace and security," Obama said.

U.S., Israeli, and Palestinian representatives held trilateral discussions in the U.S. State Department last week, followed by a smaller meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Process George Mitchell.

"I told Netanyahu ... given that the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend the moratorium," Obama added.

Last week Moscow called on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to come to complicated compromises to reach a settlement of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Obama said he had "confidence" the Palestinian-Israeli talks would succeed.

Israeli-Palestinian direct peace talks came to a halt in December 2008, when Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip in a bid to put an end to the firing of homemade rockets at southern Israel by Palestinian militants based in the enclave. The conflict left 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

The Palestinians have cited ongoing Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, both occupied by Israel since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, as the main obstacle to the peace process.

The Palestinian National Authority will ask the UN Security Council to reestablish the 1967 border with Israel if direct Mideast talks fall through, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia said also last week.

 

WASHINGTON, September 10 (RIA Novosti)

 

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