Washington welcomes Israel's decision to return to talks

US calls on both parties to resume negotiations without preconditions, on Quartet's timetable in order to fulfill US president's two-state vision.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
October 2, 2011 22:50
2 minute read.
White House

White House 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

 
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The United States welcomed Israel's announcement Sunday that they were ready to accept the terms of the Quartet proposal on peace negotiations, and return to talks with the Palestinians.

"The US once again calls on both parties to resume negotiations without preconditions, on the timetable proposed by the Quartet, as the best means to advance their interests, resolve their differences, and fulfill the [US] President's two-state vision." the State Department said.

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The US acknowledged that the Palestinians had accepted the Quartet's offer on September 29.

Israel on Sunday formally accepted the Quartet's proposal for re-starting negotiations with the Palestinians, following a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his senior ministers.

"Israel welcomes the Quartet's call for direct negotiations without pre-conditions with the Palestinian Authority, which was already suggested by US president Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, even though Israel has a number of reservations which it will bring up in the negotiations."

The statement called on the PA to enter negotiations without delay.



Following Netanyahu and Abbas's speeches to the UN last month, during which Abbas said he was filing a request to the Security Council for full UN membership for "Palestine," the Quartet issued a formula for renewing talks.

The statement urged the parties "to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without delay or preconditions." It proposed a "preparatory meeting" between the parties within a month to agree to an agenda and "method of proceeding in the negotiation," and suggested that the two sides commit to the objective of reaching an agreement "within a timeframe agreed to by the parties but not longer than the end of 2012."

The statement also said the expectation is that the parties will come up with a comprehensive proposal on territory and security within three months, and to have made "substantial progress" within six months. To facilitate this, an international conference will be held in Moscow "at the appropriate time."

Netanyahu has in the past objected to the idea – as presented in the Quartet proposal – of isolating security and territories from the other core issues of Jerusalem and refugees, saying that if an agreement on the territorial issue was reached, the Palestinians would have no incentive to compromise later on the issues of refugees and Jerusalem. Rather, his position in the past was that all issues should be discussed simultaneously.

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