Clinton Working to Revive Mideast Talks as Israel Weighs Settlement Freeze

Clinton Working to Revive Mideast Talks as Israel Weighs Settlement Freeze
# 16 November 2010 02:30 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Israel’s consideration of a settlement freeze was a “promising development” and that she will be working daily to restart stalled Middle East peace talks, APA reports quoting “Bloomberg”.
The U.S. has proposed that Israel freeze West Bank settlement construction for 90 days in exchange for 20 warplanes and a pledge to block any independent attempt by Palestinians to declare statehood in the United Nations. Palestinians cut off peace talks after a previous settlement moratorium ended on Sept. 26.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the plan to his Cabinet yesterday and said on Army Radio that a final proposal was still being put together by Israeli and U.S. negotiators.
“This is a very promising development and a serious effort by Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Clinton said today. “We’re in very close touch with both the Israelis and the Palestinians, working intensively to create the conditions for the resumption of negotiations.”
Clinton said she has been personally involved in the talks on a number of tracks, including an 8-hour meeting with Netanyahu last week. Clinton said she has met with senior Egyptian officials about supporting the peace process and spoken with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad about building institutions of a future Palestinian state.
“We’re going to keep meeting every single day to bring about the swift resumption of negotiations on all the final status negotiations,” Clinton said. “We believe it is only through negotiations that we believe the final status issues can be resolved.”
The new 90-day freeze proposed by the U.S., if approved by Israel, would include any new construction begun since the previous 10-month moratorium ended, diplomats in Jerusalem said.
The U.S. would also commit to refrain from seeking any further halt to settlement construction after the 90 days were up, the diplomats said.