Clinton tries to restart stalled Mideast talks

By Daily Maverick Legacy 2 November 2009

Hillary Clinton praised Israel for “unprecedented” concessions on West Bank settlement construction – a view at odds with the Palestinian Territorial Authority, who already said it will not return to talks unless Israel stops building settlements. Clinton spoke at press conference with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu saying: “What the prime minister has offered in specifics on restraints on a policy of settlements ... is unprecedented.” Settlements remain a crucial stumbling block in restarting negotiations but in Clinton’s comments, she indicated this issue was no reason to hold up talks. Clinton agreed with Netanyahu the Palestinians had not previously insisted upon a settlement freeze as a condition for negotiations. Moreover, her comments now represented a change from her previous statements calling for a total settlement freeze. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh responded, “There can be no excuse for the continuation of settlements, which is really the main obstacle in the way of any credible peace process.” Clinton travels to Morocco this week for discussions with Arab leaders. Read more at: Huffington Post, AP

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