News / Middle East

US: Direct Mideast Talks Deal Very Close

Multimedia

Audio

The State Department said Thursday an agreement for the start of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians is close to completion. The deal will apparently be sealed by statements from the United States and the International Middle East Quartet.

U.S. officials have been reporting incremental progress in the peace contacts for several days.

But State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said Thursday an agreement to upgrade Israeli-Palestinian contacts to direct negotiations is very, very close, and that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was involved in telephone diplomacy to seal the deal.

Crowley said Clinton spoke late Wednesday with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, to among other things assure him that the Palestinian Authority will have international financial backing during a negotiating process aimed at Palestinian statehood.

The spokesman said the Secretary spoke Thursday with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now serving as Middle east envoy for the international Middle East Quartet, consisting of the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations.

It has long been expected that the Quartet, which issued a road map to Middle East peace in 2003, would launch the envisaged direct talks with a statement announcing a framework, venue, and possible timetable for the negotiations.

At a news briefing Thursday, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley indicated strongly that as a result of last-minute bargaining, the United States will also issue a separate statement of its expectations for the talks:

"We believe if we reach the point we hope to arrive at that members of the Quartet will demonstrate their support for the process, we will demonstrate our support for the process, and we will outline specifics of where we go from here. We are not at that point yet," said Crowley.  "There are still details that we're working through. We're not going to do the negotiation in public. We want to make sure that the parties have the right understanding of what they're agreeing to, to move this process forward with the appropriate set of expectations."

Israel in recent days had expressed concern about the Quartet setting parameters for direct talks, and a parallel U.S. statement may be aimed at easing those misgivings.

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, who has been shuttling back and forth to the region brokered the current round of indirect or proximity talks several months ago.

Israel has stated its readiness to upgrade the dialogue but the Palestinians have been more hesitant. Late last month the Arab League endorsed a move to direct talks, while leaving a decision on the timing to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas.

The broad outlines of a two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace accord have been established in previous negotiating efforts.

Secretary Clinton has spoken in recent months of an independent, viable and contiguous Palestinian state with borders based on pre-1967 lines, but with agreed land swaps and reflecting subsequent developments.

The United States holds that the thorniest issues in the peace process including refugees and the status of Jerusalem are for the parties to decide in final-status talks.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More