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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid