US not to allow derailment of Middle East peace process

Hillary Clinton has announced resumption of talks between Israel, Palestine.

Updated: Aug 21, 2010, 11:11 AM IST

Washington: A day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestine, the White House said US would not be deterred by any effort to derail the renewed effort to find a lasting solution to the decades old problem.

"What we can`t do is to allow extremist militants and those who are opposed to peace in the Middle East prevent these negotiations from moving forward. And for too long I think the extremists have been able to hold certain activities hostage because of their acts," said John Brennan, the top counter-terrorism adviser to US President Barack Obama.

"We are going forward with this with a strong sense that these talks can succeed. There is a commitment now by the Israelis to participate in it.”

“We`re hoping that the Palestinians are going to agree shortly to participate as well. And so what we need to do is to make sure that all sides remain committed for these talks over the next year," he said.

"There may be militant groups out there, terrorist organisations that will point to this as yet one more reason for them to carry out their cowardice acts. But I know the United States is not going to be deterred from its role in facilitating these talks, direct talks between the parties.”

“And I certainly hope and I know the President and this administration hopes that all sides will remain committed, irrespective of what these extremist organisations or militant groups might say or even do," he said.

Yesterday, Hillary announced that she has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington on September 02 for resumption of direct negotiations on the Middle East peace talks.

"The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks. But I ask the parties to persevere, to keep moving forward even through difficult times, and to continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region," Hillary said.

"After proximity talks and consultations with both sides, on behalf of the United States government I`ve invited Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Abbas to meet on September 2nd in Washington, DC, to re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues, which we believe can be completed within one year," she announced.

At a hurriedly convened press conference at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Hillary said US President Barack Obama has invited Egyptian President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan to attend in view of their critical role in this effort.

"Their continued leadership and commitment to peace will be essential to our success," she said.

Obama will hold bilateral meetings with the four leaders followed by a dinner with them on September 1st. The quartet representative, Tony Blair, has also been invited to the dinner in view of his important work to help Palestinians build the institutions of their future state, an effort which must continue during the negotiations, she said.

"As we move forward, it is important that actions by all sides help to advance our effort, not hinder it. There have been difficulties in the past; there will be difficulties ahead. Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles," Hillary said.

Later taking to the media, George Mitchell, Special US Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, said the US believes that it`s the recognition by the parties themselves, by their leaders, that the best outcome is an agreement which results in two states living side by side in peace and security.

"The only way that can be achieved is through direct negotiations between the parties in which the United States will be an active and sustained participant, and with the full support of our many friends and allies around the world, including, of course, specifically, the quartet," he said.

All permanent status issues will be on the table. It will be for the parties themselves to decide the manner by which they should be addressed, he noted.

Mitchell said all are well aware that there remains mistrust between the parties, a residue of hostility developed over many decades of conflict. Many previous efforts that have been made to resolve the conflict that have not succeeded. All of which takes a very heavy toll on both societies and their leaders.