Sirte, Libya (AFP) Oct 9, 2010
The United States pledged to keep working to rescue Middle East peace talks after Arab ministers gave it one month from Friday to secure a change of heart from Israel over Jewish settlement building.
The ministers, meeting in Sirte, Libya, made it clear that the direct talks with the Palestinians relaunched just last month would collapse if Israel did not halt settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
The Arab League Follow-up Committee said it would meet "in a month to review the alternatives proposed by (Palestinian president Mahmud) Abbas to determine the necessary steps to be taken on this."
The committee of 13 foreign ministers urged Washington to pursue efforts in the meantime to stop Israeli settlement activity.
It added that it "supports the position of the Palestinian president calling for a total cessation of settlement to allow the resumption of direct negotiations."
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said the statement "offers huge support for the position of president Abbas.
"The committee will convene again in a month to study the alternatives, which gives the US administration a chance between now and then to try to find a solution to the settlements issue," he said.
Washington expressed appreciation for the ministers' statement of support for its efforts.
"We will continue to work with the parties, and all our international partners, to advance negotiations toward a two-state solution and encourage the parties to take constructive actions toward that end," State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office declined comment on Saturday.
However, public radio quoted an unnamed official close to Netanyahu as saying Israel was satisfied with the decision not to immediately pull the plug on talks and welcomed the move as a "victory for pragmatism."
The Islamist Hamas movement, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since ousting forces loyal to Abbas in 2007, expressed frustration that Arab ministers had not gone further in supporting the abandonment of talks.
"Giving more time to the Americans will just bring more pressure on Arab governments and the Palestinian side and lead to the actions of the Israelis being ignored," spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP.
A separate Hamas statement added that "giving another chance to the American administration is pointless."
Abbas came to Sirte to seek backing to withdraw from the peace negotiations after Israel adamantly refused to extend a freeze on settlement building that expired on September 26.
Last-ditch efforts to reach a compromise appeared to have failed, with Israel silent on the moratorium and the Palestinians insisting they would not talk while settlement activity continued on land they want as a future state.
The ministers' statement came after Arab League chief Amr Mussa gave a dire assessment of the outlook for the peace talks, which resumed on September 2 after a 20-month hiatus.
"The situation is negative and is not favourable to direct negotiations," Mussa said, adding there were many alternative measures the Arabs could take including "going to the (UN) Security Council."
On Saturday, however, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said "recourse to the Security Council to declare an independent Palestinian state is not currently on the agenda."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured Abbas that Washington would try to coax Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into renewing settlement curbs "until the very last minute," Abu Rudeina told AFP earlier.
In response, the Palestinian leader said he was "ready to resume negotiations on condition there is a clear freeze of the settlement activities."
Netanyahu has made no move to renew the freeze, partly because he does not have the support for it in his mostly right-wing coalition.
For the Palestinians, Jewish settlements are a major threat to the establishment of a viable future state in the West Bank, and they see the freezing of settlements as a crucial test of Israel's intentions.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Peace talks impossible with this Israeli govt: Abbas aide
Ramallah, Palestinian Territories (AFP) Oct 7, 2010
A top aide to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Thursday that it was impossible to have a "serious peace process" with the current Israeli government. The remarks by Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team, come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to extend a partial moratorium on settlement construction seen as key to US-backed talks. ... read more
LockMart Awarded Radar Contract To Defend Against Anti-Ship And Ballistic Missile Threats|
MEADS Life Cycle Costs Significantly Lower Than Fielded Systems
Northrop Grumman And Boeing Partner For Missile Defense Simulation Architecture Contract
Russia, NATO Should Fully Analyze Missile Threat To Europe
Russian image tarnished over Iran missile deal: MP
Russia to refund Iran over missile deal: arms export chief
Russia to refund Iran over missile deal: arms export chief
India's Prithvi-II missile fails to launch
US drone kills five in northwest Pakistan: officials
US drone kills four in Pakistan's northwest: officials
Iran muscles into the UAV battlefield
US drone strike kills Germans in Pakistan terror zone
Indian army in communication system tender
Military Terrestrial Satcom Market To Grow Slightly
MEADS Demonstrates Interoperability With NATO
Space security surveillance gets new boost
Remington upgrades M24 sniper rifle
Emirates eye Oshkosh combat vehicles
Northrop Grumman Partners With US Navy To Advance Rotorcraft Development
Boeing Completes Production Of First Australian Super Hornet
India jets order boosts ailing Russian defence industry
India to buy 250-300 fighter jets from Russia: minister
NATO chief warns against military budget cuts
Israel to buy 20 F-35 fighter jets in deal with US
NATO chief in Turkey to discuss NATO-EU ties
EU, China confess to differences
Beijing confirms US-China defence ministers to meet
Leaders of China, Japan ease rift in chance summit encounter
Maritime Laser System Shows Higher Lethality At Longer Ranges
Northrop Grumman To Increase Efficiency For Next-Gen Military Laser Technology
Boeing Receives Task Order For Design Of Free Electron Laser Lab Demonstrator
Lasers could protect helicopters from harm
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|