News / Middle East

    US in New Bid to Broker Mideast Peace Talks

    Jewish settler boys stand atop ruins of razed buildings in the unauthorized Jewish hilltop outpost of Migron, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 5, 2011.
    Jewish settler boys stand atop ruins of razed buildings in the unauthorized Jewish hilltop outpost of Migron, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 5, 2011.

    A senior U.S. diplomatic team is meeting with Israeli and Palestinian officials in what is widely seen as a last-ditch effort to broker direct peace talks and avoid a confrontation over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations later this month.  U.S. officials said Tuesday that a statehood move, over Israel’s objections, would set back peace efforts.

    Officials say the dispatch of the U.S. team was preceded by a telephone appeal from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to have an open mind about the American diplomatic initiative.

    The Obama administration is trying to broker an early agreement by the parties to resume direct peace talks and avoid an angry statehood clash at the United Nations later this month.  The United States would veto any request in the U.N. Security Council to make a Palestinian state a new member country of the world body.

    But Palestinians say they are determined to press ahead with a vote to elevate their U.N. observer status in the General Assembly, where the United States has no veto.

    U.S. officials say such a move would increase Israel’s political isolation, inflame regional tensions and set back hopes for Palestinian statehood, which to be viable, would require Israel’s concurrence.

    State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the mission of U.S. envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross is to avoid a “bad scenario” when the new U.N. General Assembly convenes in New York later this month.

    “We are going to continue to work right up till the U.N. General Assembly, if necessary, to get these parties back to the table," she said. "And we’ll continue to work afterwards.  This is where we are focused.  And as you know, we will continue to oppose any one-sided actions at the U.N.; and we’re making that clear to both sides.”

    White House Middle East adviser Ross and Hale met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday.

    Hale, who succeeded George Mitchell as U.S. Middle East envoy in May, goes on to the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday to meet with Abbas and other Palestinian officials.

    U.S. sponsored direct Middle East peace talks broke down last year.

    The New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama administration is trying to lure the parties back to negotiations with proposals derived from President Obama’s Middle East message in May, which called for a two-state solution based on Israel’s pre-1967 borders.

    The newspaper said the new plan would be issued in a statement by the Middle East Quartet - which includes Russia, the European Union and the United Nations as well as the United States.  It would be aimed at discouraging potential votes for the Palestinians in the General Assembly and persuading President Abbas to step back from pursuing U.N. action.

    Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton and Abbas had a good conversation on Monday and that the secretary of state asked the Palestinian chief to “receive the U.S. team with open ears.”

    A top adviser to Abbas, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said Tuesday there is little the United States can do to change Palestinian plans and that they are going to the United Nations “regardless of objections or pressure.”

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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 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 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.