Thursday, May 28, 2009

"peace in our time" (?) ...again

From THE JERUSALEM POST, May. 27, 2009, by Hilary Leila Krieger:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the United States would present detailed plans on the peace process to the parties as part of its efforts to jumpstart negotiations.

...Though the Obama administration has pledged intensified Middle East diplomacy since the beginning of its term, Clinton's comments went the furthest to date in suggesting that the US would make its own proposals for resolving the conflict that multiple American administration plans have failed to resolve.

Such US initiative has been urged by Arab countries, beginning with Jordan's King Abdullah during his own White House visit in April. At that time he also said the Arab countries would themselves have to contribute to the process...

...Greater participation has been a central piece of the US administration's approach thus far, with Clinton stressing that "we've also been reaching out to governments of Arab nations, asking what they could be expected to do as we move forward to build confidence and to create a good atmosphere for decisions to be made."

US officials see the Arab League peace plan as providing a possible basis for negotiations. That plan calls for an Israeli withdrawal from all land captured in the Six Day War, as well as a resolution on the Palestinian refugee issue, in exchange for normalization with the entire Arab world.

...The US administration is using ...visits with Middle East leaders to shore up support for its program and seek regional participation. On Tuesday, Obama also added a stop in Saudi Arabia - the original authors of the Arab peace plan - to the beginning of his overseas trip.

Nabil Abu Znaid, the head of the Palestinian Authority's mission to the US, praised Obama's efforts and his "global" approach....

...Clinton stressed the US position that settlement construction must stop, even though Netanyahu has indicated "natural growth" in major blocs was set continue.

"The president was very clear when Prime Minister Netanyahu was here. He wants to see a stop to settlements - not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions," she said. "That is our position, that is what we have communicated very clearly, not only to the Israelis, but to the Palestinians and others. And we intend to press that point."

She did not elaborate on what the administration had in mind when she referenced "very specific proposals," saying only, "We are making a very concerted effort. ...We have a lot of support from countries such as Egypt...."
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