Israel-Palestine talks to resume, say Clinton, EU (Lead)August 20th, 2010 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS
Washington/Brussels, Aug 20 (DPA) Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resume direct negotiations next month in hopes of reviving the long-stalled Middle East peace process, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Union confirmed Friday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will begin the talks in Washington Sep 2, with the aim of reaching a peace deal in one year. The leaders of Egypt and Jordan will also be invited to the gathering.
Clinton said the talks would be aimed at resolving “all final status issues” in order to reach a final resolution of the Middle East peace conflict.
“Without a doubt we will hit more obstacles,” Clinton said. But she argued the talks should “be characterised by good faith and a commitment to their success”.
In Brussels, the EU issued a formal statement on behalf of the Mideast Quartet, which consists of Russia, the UN, the US and the EU.
“The Quartet calls on the Israelis and the Palestinians to join in launching direct negotiations on September 2 in Washington, DC, to resolve all final status issues and fulfil the aspirations of both parties.”
The body said it was determined to support Israelis and Palestinians through the talks, “which can be completed within one year”.
It also urged both sides “to observe calm and restraint, and to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric”.
The resumption of talks marks the culmination of months of shuttle diplomacy between both sides by US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell.
The last round of direct talks had been suspended in late 2008 as Israel entered its election campaign. Indirect talks led by Mitchell resumed in spring of this year.
Negotiations between the two sides have been started and halted many times in the last decade. This will mark the first time Abbas and Netanyahu are leading the effort.
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