News / Middle East

    US Envoy: Mideast Talks 'Moving in Right Direction'

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el Sheikh,  14 Sept 2010.
    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, during talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el Sheikh, 14 Sept 2010.

    Multimedia

    Audio

    American Middle East envoy George Mitchell said Tuesday he thinks the U.S.-brokered direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks "are moving in the right direction overall." Mitchell spoke after a three-way U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli meeting in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh that included a surprise second session.



    The initial three-way meeting of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neyanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton extended nearly two hours - longer than planned.

    Although he kept to a stated commitment to avoid discussing the substance of the talks, U.S. envoy Mitchell, who spoke for the three parties, hinted at progress.

    What was discussed

    He said the talks, the second round of a direct dialogue begun earlier this month in Washington, included a serious discussion of several of the core issues of the peace process,  and that he believes the talks "are moving in the right direction overall."

    It was later revealed that the three principals held an unscheduled second meeting Tuesday afternoon at a Sharm el-Sheikh hotel. The dialogue is to continue with another three-way meeting Wednesday in Jerusalem, and Mitchell said the parties agreed to hold working-level talks to, among other things, prepare for the next leadership session.

    Palestinian demands

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets for Mideast peace talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 14 Sept 2010.
    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets for Mideast peace talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 14 Sept 2010.

    The talks here convened amid Palestinian threats to walk out of the process if Prime Minister Netanyahu failed to extend the moratorium on most West Bank settlement activity he declared earlier this year and which expires September 26.

    Mitchell, under questioning, reaffirmed U.S. support for extending the freeze but said there are also steps the Palestinians should take to advance the dialogue.

    "We think it makes sense to extend the moratorium, especially given that the talks are moving in a constructive direction," Mitchell said. "We know that this is a politically sensitive issue in Israel and we have also called on President Abbas to take steps that help encourage and facilitate this process. We believe that both sides have a responsibility to help insure that these talks continue in a constructive manner."

    Mubarak's contributions

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, hosting Israeli-Palestinian talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, 14 Sept 2010.
    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, hosting Israeli-Palestinian talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, 14 Sept 2010.

    The U.S. envoy paid tribute to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who held bilateral meetings here with all three key participants, for hosting the first round of direct talks in the region in nearly two years.

    The venue will shift to Jerusalem Wednesday to, as a senior U.S. official said, "put the focus on the Israeli-Palestinian channel and to regularize the dialogue."

    Mitchell said the goal continues to be a resolution of the decades-long conflict within a year.

    "President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu continue to agree that these negotiations, whose goal is to resolve all core issues, can be completed within one year," Mitchell said. "As I said recently in Washington, the parties have agreed to begin first on working to achieve a framework agreement for permanent status. That work is now well under way."

    Core issues

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el Sheikh, 14 Sept 2010.
    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el Sheikh, 14 Sept 2010.

    The core issues include the borders of a prospective Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, the right of refugees and future of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    Palestinian officials have been pushing for an early agreement on borders, which U.S. officials say would go a long way toward de-fusing the settlement issue.

    Secretary Clinton, after Wednesday's Jerusalem meetings, will meet Mr. Abbas at his Ramallah office Thursday before ending her Middle East trip with a stop in Amman to meet Jordan's King Abdullah.

    A senior U.S. official said Mitchell would remain in the region and visit Syria shortly, reflecting Obama administration interest in an eventual broader regional peace accord involving Syria and Lebanon.

    Related video report by Robert Raffaele:

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.