(photo credit: reuters)
The US must move fast on its planned drive to revive Middle East talks before Palestinians seek recognition as a state, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.
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"It's time for the American administration to move before September," said President Mahoud Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdainah.
Given a continuing impasse despite 18 years of talks, Palestinian leaders aim to ask the UN General Assembly in September for recognition of statehood.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday that the United States plans a new push to promote comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace, suggesting a stronger hand by Washington to try to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Talk about plans and new initiatives is not enough. There should be an effective US role and strong policy against settlements," Abu Rdainah said in response.
"The administration has started to realize the situation in the Mideast is dangerous," he added.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was to brief Western representatives in Brussels on Wednesday on his bid for nearly $5 billion in investment to launch a Palestinian state.
The United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have praised Fayyad's drive over the past two years to establish the institutions and attributes of a modern state in time for the General Assembly meeting.
US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down last September in a dispute over continued Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
In a speech to Arab and US policy makers that placed particular emphasis
on Israeli-Palestinian peace, Clinton said US President Barack Obama
will lay out his policy toward the Middle East and North Africa in the
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has warned against unilateral moves
such as declaring statehood, arguing that a solution could only be
achieved by direct negotiations.
Abbas refuses to resume the suspended talks until Israel freezes all
settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, arguing that Jewish
settlers are being allowed to take more land away from a future
Palestinian state every week.
An Israeli government official, who declined to be named, said Israel was ready to begin negotiations again at any time.
"Israel remains ready for the immediate start of peace talks.
Unfortunately until now the Palestinians have prevented such talks from
beginning," the official said.
Netanyahu is widely expected to visit the United States in May and media
reports have said he may float fresh ideas on how to get the peace
process going again.
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