U.S. Urges Russia to Steer Palestinian Statehood Bid Toward Renewed Peace Talks

Secretary of State Clinton tells Russian counterpart that Palestinian action 'at the United Nations is not the best way forward,' advocates return to negotiation table.

The United States is pushing Russia to find a way to put Mideast peace talks back on track, a top U.S. official said on Monday, following a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Clinton reiterated the U.S. position to her Russian counterpart, according to which "action in the Security Council, a vote in the Security Council, would not be productive," a senior State Department official indicated. 

Hillary Clinton and Sergey Lavrov - AP -13.7.2011

"She laid out her position on why she believes that action at the United Nations is not the best way forward, and she spent the bulk of her time encouraging the foreign minister to work with her on finding a way forward that would get the two parties back into negotiations," the official said.

The U.S. officials told reporters that Clinton and Lavrov discussed last-ditch attempts by Quartet for the Middle East officials to convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to resume peace talks ahead of a Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.

"The Secretary and the foreign minister reviewed the current state of play, including the ongoing work of the Quartet to establish a pathway and a context for negotiations between the two parties that can lead to the goal that both Russia and the United States agree on, which is a two-state solution that is agreed between the two sides," the official said.

"There are other elements as well that are incumbent on the parties that are to do with the two parties’ willingness to come forward and be prepared to engage in negotiations in good faith on all of the permanent status issues and to produce an agreement," the official said, adding: "All the members of the Quartet are eager to ensure that the two parties end up in a context where they can actually have successful talks that result in a resolution of all the permanent status issues and that results in essentially a final settlement."

Speaking of a possible Quartet statement geared at bringing the sides together at the negotiating table, the American officials said that Clinton and Lavrov spoke "about what the purpose or nature of a Quartet statement would look like to provide a useful framework or context for negotiations between the two sides," adding that "they agreed that the envoys should continue working, that those discussions had been productive to date and could continue to be productive as we go forward."