US hopes Israel would extend moratorium on settlements

Hillary Clinton expressed hope that the Jewish state would extend its moratorium on its construction activities.

Washington: Amid deadlock over
settlements which is threatening to sabotage talks between
Israel and Palestine, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
today expressed hope that the Jewish state would extend its
moratorium on its construction activities.

Clinton, who was in the region this week to attend the
second round of direct negotiations between Israel and
Palestine, told the ABC news in an interview said US does not
want either side to leave the talks and would make sure there
remains a conducive atmosphere to constructive talks.

"We don`t want either party to leave these
negotiations or to do anything that causes the other to leave
the negotiations," Clinton said.

"We are having very clear conversations with each. And
I will certainly urge him (Palestine President) to continue in
the negotiations, just as I`ve urged Prime Minister Netanyahu,
and as (the US) President (Barack) Obama has said, to continue
the moratorium (on settlements)," Clinton said.

Clinton hoped that Israel would extended their
moratorium on settlements.

"Well, that certainly is our hope. Now, we`ve also
said that we`ll support an agreement that is reached between
the parties. It took a lot of political capital for Prime
Minister Netanyahu to achieve this moratorium. It had never
been done before. I think, gave him credit for it about a year
ago here in Jerusalem," she said.

"At the same time, it`s been in effect for the time
that it was set for, and the talks are just starting. So we
are working hard to make sure there remains a conducive
atmosphere to constructive talks," she said.

After two rounds of direct negotiations, Clinton said
the two parties need to keep talking.

"Each party -- both Israelis and Palestinians need to
figure out a way to make that happen. I think this (US)
President has said, we are committed. We will stay with you.

We will do everything we can to facilitate that. At the end of
the day, this has to be an agreement between Israelis and
Palestinians," Clinton said.

"You know, Israel today is under tremendous security
pressure, and they can look over the horizon and see even more
when you`ve got a country like Iran standing by saying, "We
want to wipe you from the face of the Earth and annihilate
you." I mean, that does concentrate your mind," she said.

"On the Palestinian side, we`ve been down this road,
we`re trying to build our own institutions of a new state. You
know, can we really afford to not do it?" Clinton added.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which held
last week in Egypt and Jerusalem, produced no apparent
breakthrough. Both sides said they would continue striving
toward their goal of a final settlement within one year.

Dates for the next round of negotiations at the
leaders` level are supposed to be determined during
consultations next week.

PTI

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