Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Netanyahu hails US climbdown

The Independent, Dec 14, 2010


Israel has hailed Washington’s decision to stop pressing for a settlement freeze as a US envoy faced the tough task of moving towards peace after the collapse of direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.

“I welcome this American decision. It is good for Israel. It is good for peace,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who resisted US, Palestinian and international calls for a construction moratorium, said in a speech in Tel Aviv.

With face-to-face Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at an end for now over the settlement impasse, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington would refocus efforts on a return to indirect talks.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, back in the region for a fresh round of shuttle diplomacy, was due to meet Mr Netanyahu yesterday and see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today. Ms Clinton said the US would push to resolve core issues of the conflict.
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