Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Netanyahu to Abbas: Don't let end of settlement freeze foil peace talks

Prime Minister considering trip to U.S. on Saturday for summit organized by Bill Clinton at which Abbas will also be present; Netanyahu would meet with Obama after summit.

By Avi Issacharoff and Barak Ravid

The United States has stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resolve the crisis over the looming end of the settlement freeze. During talks between the two leaders with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Tuesday, a number of ideas were raised in an effort to achieve a breakthrough.

Abbas is scheduled to visit Jerusalem Wednesday afternoon for direct talks at the Prime Minister's official residence in the city. This will be the first such meeting in the capital since Netanyahu's took office last year.

Neither side offered much information on Tuesday about what is expected during the meeting between the two leaders today.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina gave a statement saying that the negotiations were very serious but the issue of settlements constitutes an obstacle to peace.

Netanyahu is considering traveling to New York Saturday after the end of the Yom Kippur holiday to attend a summit being organized by former President Bill Clinton at the United Nations. Abbas is also scheduled to attend the meeting, which will be held in parallel with the UN General Assembly meeting.

If Netanyahu travels to the U.S. he will also visit American President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday or Tuesday.

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Surprising Report: Netanyahu will Head to Washington Sunday

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will fly to Washington DC Sunday, in a surprising development reported by Channel 1 state-run television Tuesday evening. The station's political reporter Ayala Hasson said the trip is "90% certain" to take place and that it seems to reflect some kind of political development, but that the nature of the development is not known.......According to Mitchell, the drafting of a framework agreement for a “permanent status” solution is now “well under way.” The parties agree, however, that negotiations must be kept strictly confidential.

Entire Report:

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