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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs