Clinton Lieberman 311.
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began his meeting with Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton late afternoon on Wednesday at his official residence in
Prior to the start of the meeting, the three leaders
came out to the patio for a photo opportunity. Asked by one of the
reporters if there had been any progress, Netanyahu said "we are working
on it." He added that "there is a lot of work" and that he was glad to
have the opportunity.
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Neither Abbas nor Clinton spoke.
A meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Jerusalem's David Citadel Hotel ended mid-afternoon on Wednesday, after the two senior officials held an hour-long conversation.
Earlier in the day, Clinton met with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and and President Shimon Peres.
Sources close to Lieberman said that their hour-long meeting was "held in a pleasant atmosphere."
She was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later on Wednesday.
Before the Lieberman meeting, Clinton expressed hope about the latest round of Israeli Palestinian peace talks, stating that Netanyahu and Abbas are "getting down to business" and have started to "grapple with the core issues that can only be solved in face to face negotiations." Clinton's comments came after she met President Shimon Peres.
Clinton, who arrived from Sharm e-Sheikh where she took an active part in the Netanyahu-Abbas talks, said the US will stand by the two men as they make difficult decisions, and "we will be an active and sustained partner throughout the process."
"This is the time, and these are the leaders," said Clinton, added that
she believes the two are "serious" about reaching an agreement.
"Thankfully," Clinton said, "we now have with Prime Minister Netanyahu a
leader who understands how important it is to move forward, and as he
has said, we also have a Palestinian president who shares that
Netanyahu, at the relaunch of direct talks in Washington earlier this
month, called Abbas his "partner in peace."
Peres expressed his belief that the current round of talks is not merely history repeating itself. Peres said that the conflict had changed from one between Palestinians and Israelis to one in which one country, Iran, wanting to attain "hegemony in the region," is using terrorism against everyone else. He added that the peace talks have thus far gone much better than the skeptics expected.
Peres also noted Israel's improved relations with neighboring Arab countries differentiating the current peace talks from past, failed negotiations.