Text size
related tags

The Obama administration and delegates from Arab states were holding a series of meetings in Washington this week in an effort to see a renewal of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Friday with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and negotiator Omer Suleiman during their visit to Washington. Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh will also meet Clinton that day, along with other U.S. officials.

The United States pledged on Monday, as the talks kicked off, to be "even more committed this year" to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The State Department warned then that any further delay would only hurt the interests of all parties involved.

"We know that the Palestinians deserve a state to fulfill their aspirations. The Israelis deserve security to live peacefully side by side with their Palestinian neighbors," Clinton said.

"The Arab nations have made a very positive contribution in the peace initiative of the Arab League and others. So we're going to be even more committed this year, and we're starting this new year with that level of commitment and we're going to follow through and hopefully we can see this as a positive year in this long process," she said.

The State Department said Monday that it was making efforts to ensure a quick resumption of talks, adding that it was '"consulting closely with our European and regional allies."

Our goal remains the resumption of negotiations as soon as possible," said a state department official. "We believe that further delay is not in the interests of Palestinians, of Israelis, or of the U.S. We recognize of course that there are problems and difficulties. But waiting will only make things worse."

Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected to return to the region sometime next week, according to an Israeli official in Washington.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani on Monday said he believed a unity government between rival Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah would greatly aid the peace process, and pledged his own commitment to seeing the conflict resolved with the help of U.S. mediation.

"The most important thing is how we can make a unity government between the Palestinians so they can concentrate how to deal with the peace process," said Al-Thani.

"Also, the Israeli and the Palestinian have to know that the solution to solve this problem is by a dialogue," he said. "It is very important that there is no games in this dialogue because we know Jerusalem is a very important part, we know the settlements [are] a problem, we know the water, we know peace - land-for-peace... [these are] the main elements [upon] which the international arena and all the countries."

"So I hope that both sides realize that they have to work together," Al-Thani added. "All of us, we are ready to help. All of us rely on the United States.. in this process."Nat