'Clinton phoned Netanyahu to criticize J'lem building'

March 12, 2010 20:12


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WASHINGTON — A senior US official says US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday to complain bluntly about Israel's announcement this week of new housing units in east Jerusalem.

The official said Clinton spoke with Netanyahu "to deliver a very strong message with regard to events over the past week." She said that Israel is expected to take actions to improve the prospects for relaunching peace talks with the Palestinians. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the call.

The Israeli announcement took the US by surprise, and overshadowed a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden, who condemned it. It also enraged Palestinians and Arab states, jeopardizing indirect peace talks set to be mediated by US envoy George Mitchell.

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