News / Middle East

Clinton Calls Mideast Talks 'Moment of Great Opportunity'

Secretary Clinton is joining Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Egypt for a second round of direct peace talks

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are in the Egyptian Sinai resort town, Sharm el-Sheikh, for the second round of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks -- the first being held in the region after the formal opening in Washington.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who flew from Washington to join the talks, calls it a "moment of great opportunity" for the two parties.

Clinton says she hopes the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the one that follows it, Wednesday in Jerusalem, will build on the "positive atmosphere" of the opening session at the State Department, earlier this month.

The secretary will meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here before a trilateral discussion aimed at what she calls "getting down to business" in the first direct talks between the sides in two years.

In a talk with reporters traveling with her from Washington, Clinton said she is fully aware of the obstacles to a two-state settlement of the Middle East conflict.

But she says she believes that the "time is ripe" for an agreement for a number of reasons and that there is no way that the legitimate needs of the parties can be fulfilled outside of a peace accord.

"It does seem to me that, for both of these men, this is a moment of great opportunity as well as challenge.  And, what we are trying to do is to encourage them to pursue this chance for peace this year, because neither of them can predict the consequences, if this effort does not continue forward," she said.

Clinton reiterated comments by President Barack Obama, last week, that the United States would like to see Mr. Netanyahu extend the Israeli moratorium on most West Bank settlement building, due to expire September 26th.

She suggests that she and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, also participating here, will defer to the parties themselves on issues of substance, although she is prepared to offering bridging ideas, if needed.

"Our goal has been to help create an atmosphere that is conducive to negotiations and to request and encourage each party not to do anything that would interfere with the continuity of those negotiations.  So I think in the next two days there will be a lot that will be discussed by both sides about what they need, or what they can offer to keep going," she said.

Mr. Abbas and his team are understood to be interested in an early agreement on the borders of a Palestinian state, which Clinton says would have the benefit of ending the argument about which settlements would remain in Israeli hands.

She says she thinks both leaders realize that prolonged stalemate is in neither side's best interest and that the current opportunity must be seized.

"For me this is a simple choice:  no negotiations, no security, no state.  Negotiations at least hold out the potential for reaching an agreement that both parties have pledged that they wish to pursue, despite the difficulties that they face from both within and without," she said.

Clinton meets Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak here, in advance of the talks, and concludes her brief Middle East visit Thursday, with a meeting in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah -- along with Egypt the only Arab states having made peace with Israel.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid