US urges Israel, Palestinians to avoid unilateral moves

August 11, 2011 21:10


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ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE - The White House urged Israel and the Palestinians on Thursday not to take unilateral actions that could undermine chances to renew long-stalled peace talks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney spoke after Israel's interior minister gave final approval for a plan to build 1,600 homes for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem, a project whose announcement last year during a visit by US Vice President Joe Biden caused a diplomatic rift with Washington.

"Our position on that has not changed," Carney said when asked whether the Israeli government's official go-ahead for the settlement project would hurt US efforts to dissuade the Palestinians from their threatened UN statehood drive.

"We obviously urge both sides not to take any action that makes it harder for the two sides to come together and negotiate," he told reporters aboard Air Force One as Obama headed for a factory visit in Michigan.

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