News / Middle East

US Envoy Heading Back to Middle East After Setback on Settlements

US Mideast envoy George Mitchell leaves following his meeting about Mideast peace talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, not pictured, in Cairo, Egypt, Oct 3, 2010
US Mideast envoy George Mitchell leaves following his meeting about Mideast peace talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, not pictured, in Cairo, Egypt, Oct 3, 2010

Multimedia

Audio

The Obama administration will send Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell back to the region next week, despite an impasse over Israeli settlement building. The State Department said Wednesday that the U.S. goal of a framework peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians within a year is still within reach.

Officials here are acknowledging a tactical setback over the settlements issue, but insist that it will not deter the administration from its pursuit of a basic deal for a two-state settlement of the Middle East conflict by late next year.

The State Department conceded late Tuesday that efforts to persuade Israel to renew a moratorium on most West Bank settlement activity, as a means to restart direct peace talks between the parties, had failed.

The Obama administration had offered Israel a package of military aid and diplomatic incentives to renew the settlement freeze that expired in September. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, however, reportedly amenable to the idea, was unable to persuade hard-line members of his cabinet to go along.

The deal, which included a U.S. offer of 20 F-35 stealth fighter planes in exchange for a three-month freeze, is now off the table. The United States will try to narrow differences between the sides over core issues, including the borders of a Palestinian state.

In announcing the Mitchell mission next week, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the freeze issue had come to overshadow the broader agenda and that it is time to shift tactics.

"We have always supported direct negotiations as the only means to reach an agreement, and through an agreement end the conflict. That remains our view," he said. "There was considerable thought given to a [settlement] moratorium as being a mechanism by which we could make the kind of progress we are looking for. And at this point, after an intensive effort, we have concluded that that particular course is not going to bear fruit at this time. And we're going to move in a different direction."

The Palestinians had refused to extend direct peace talks with Israel, which occurred briefly in September, in the absence of another settlement freeze.

Crowley said the United States does not "accept the legitimacy" of continued Israeli settlements and will continue to express that position.

Mitchell's trip to the Middle East will be preceded by separate U.S. meetings with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. News reports say that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat will visit Washington during the next few days.

Mitchell, a former Senate leader and Northern Ireland peace envoy, is expected to visit key Arab allies, in addition to his contacts with the two parties, to brief them on the latest turn in U.S. diplomacy.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid