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Shapiro: Failed peace talks were not a 'waste of time'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
06/08/2014
US envoy to Israel says nine months of negotiations broke new ground, narrowed gaps on key issues and will be helpful when talks resume.
 
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said Sunday that the nine months of US-mediated negotiations, which ended late in April without an agreement between the sides, was "not a waste of time," but served to "break new ground," which will be helpful when the sides eventually return to the negotiating table.

Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference, Shapiro said that the US was currently in "a period of pause," in which it was reassessing Washington's peace efforts and talking to the parties about how to resume talks.

He said that the US remained committed to a two-state solution as there was no other viable option to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Shapiro said that both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas both remained committed to negotiations, despite both having taken "unhelpful actions" in recent months.

He said that the previous negotiations led by US Secretary of State John Kerry were the "most intensive" peace effort to date, succeeding in "closing gaps" on many key issues and going further than ever before in defining the security parameters of a future agreement.

Shapiro called on Israel to refrain from further settlement construction and he called on the Palestinians to avoid further efforts to join international organizations.

The US envoy said that the US has been clear that Abbas's agreement with Hamas was not productive, but he welcomed the PA president's statements that the new unity government would be committed to non-violence and continued security cooperation with Israel.

He said that the US continued to view Hamas as a foreign terror organization that calls for the destruction of Israel.

Shapiro vowed that the US would not provide any aid to Hamas, but he stated that continued assistance to the Palestinian Authority was crucial to maintaining security in the region.

He said that further US cooperation with the Palestinian unity government would be contingent on the PA's continued security cooperation with Israel.
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