Washington says it is committed to moving forward with
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, despite the pending resignation of
Israel's prime minister.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said Wednesday the Bush administration will continue to work
with all "responsible" Israeli leaders.
Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice met the chief Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in
Washington on Wednesday and called the joint talks fruitful. She says
the parties remain committed to the goal of reaching a full peace deal
by the end of this year.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia made no comment after the meeting.
Palestinian delegation member Saeb Erekat says the two sides agreed to
keep pursuing a comprehensive deal rather than an interim or partial
Erekat says Secretary Rice will have another
three-way meeting with the parties in the Middle East on August 20th.
He says more talks are possible in September in Washington and on the
sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
says Rice would prefer to hand over a viable peace process to her
successor rather than pushing the parties too hard and causing the
talks to collapse. Rice leaves office in six months when the Bush
administration's term ends.
Rice and Erekat say Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision to step down in September is an internal Israeli matter.
says Palestinians want to make peace with all Israelis and not a
particular party or individual. He says both Mr. Olmert and Livni, a
leading contender to succeed him as prime minister, have told
Palestinian negotiators that Israel intends to stay the course.