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

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid