Clinton Abbas Ramallah 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
NEW YORK — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent nearly a half-hour Friday meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the Obama administration tried to prevent Israeli-Palestinian peace talks from collapsing.
After Clinton's 25-minute meeting with Abbas, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that the US efforts to keep the talks alive were continuing.
Officials: Palestinians will consider freeze compromise
Clinton: Netanyahu, Abbas trying to seek common ground
In a furious, last-minute round of diplomacy, the Obama administration is pressing Israel to extend the settlement slowdown, while urging Abbas not to make good on his threat to leave the negotiations.
"It is a pretty intense set of negotiations going on right now with the Israelis and the Palestinians," said Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. "We know that time is short. This is an important issue."
Feltman told reporters the US is urging Israel to extend the moratorium and that both parties need to see the negotiations through to their conclusion.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said he does not intend to extend the slowdown, but some Israeli officials have hinted that a compromise could be reached.
Clinton met earlier in the week with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and US special Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell has been shuttling between the two sides in a bid to craft some sort of a compromise.
Earlier Friday, Palestinian officials said they were waiting for the
latest American effort to break the standoff with Israel over the
With Sunday's deadline looming, US President Barack Obama has
increasingly placed efforts to resolve the conflict at the center of his
foreign policy. On Thursday, Obama made an impassioned appeal at the
United Nations to support a solution and called on Israel to extend the
The Palestinians have threatened to walk out of the talks if Israel does
not extend the moratorium in West Bank settlement building that expires on