U.S.: Construction in Settlements Must Stop

Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli on Monday denied reports published by the New York Times on Saturday, according to which the U.S. administration has changed its policy regarding the construction of new homes in West Bank settlements.

Ereli said that the U.S. position on the settlements has not changed, and that settlement activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must stop.

"I think it's wrong and inaccurate to write that somehow the United States is condoning or supporting or otherwise turning a blind eye to agreements made in the road map," Ereli said, noting that the road map peace initiative calls for working towards a settlement freeze.

New York Times reported that the Bush administration has changed its stance on Israeli construction in the West Bank, and now supports building in existing settlements, although not in undeveloped areas.

The paper reported Saturday that Washington has altered its stance to lend political support to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at a time of political turmoil.