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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid