News / Middle East

US Envoy Fails to Convince Palestinians to Return to Negotiations

Palestinian leaders say they will not return to negotiations unless Israel freezes construction on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Multimedia

Audio

U.S. envoy George Mitchell has failed to convince Palestinian leaders to return to negotiations with Israel.   Talks have been stalled for more than a year and Mitchell is in the region urging both sides to take steps to get negotiations going again. 

For President Barack Obama's special envoy for Middle East peace, George Mitchell, it was another frustrating visit. 

He met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah Friday for several hours, and left with no commitment from the Palestinians on returning to talks.  Mitchell did not speak to reporters.  News of his failure to convince them to resume negotiations came from chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Mr. Erekat said President Obama has been pushing for a final agreement, something he says the Palestinians also want.  He said Mitchell called on Palestinian officials to restart negotiations, and he said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also wants a resumption of talks.  But, Erekat said, this is where the disagreement is.  He said the Palestinians want negotiations based on where talks with the previous Israeli administration left off.

Palestinian leaders say they will not return to negotiations unless Israel freezes construction on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Israel has called a partial, temporary freeze and says it wants negotiations without preconditions.

The Palestinians and the former administration under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held talks, and Mr. Olmert has since said both sides came close to reaching an agreement.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who took office last year, has criticized the Palestinians for adding what he says are new conditions that they had never put before. 

The Palestinians accuse Israel of hampering their plans for a future state by continuing to build on settlements that sit on lands in the West Bank that were captured by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.  Israel has never annexed the West Bank, but successive governments have encouraged hundreds of thousands of Israelis to move there.

The Palestinians also want an end to Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital of their future state.

Mr. Mitchell has made numerous trips to the region since President Obama took office a year ago, hoping to bridge differences and get both sides back to the table. 

The latest visit came as pessimism grows over the future of the peace process.  Mitchell's meeting with Palestinian officials on Friday happened a day after Time magazine published an interview that quoted President Obama as saying his administration overestimated its ability to persuade Israel and the Palestinians to engage in a meaningful conversation.

He told the magazine that if his administration had anticipated some of the political problems, it might not have raised expectations as high as it did.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid