U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, stated, Friday evening, that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority will be launched on September 2nd. Clinton said that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will be heading to Washington to formally launch direct peace talks. President Abbas will arrive in the U.S on September 1st to hold a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, and King Abdullah of Jordan will also participate in the meeting.
Clinton stated that the goal behind launching direct talks is to hold negotiations on all core issues and that the White House hopes that a peace deal will be reached after a year of direct talks.
The U.S secretary of state further said that the negotiations will start without any preconditions, and that Quartet (United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia) envoy to Middle East peace process, Tony Blaire, will join the talks.
During a joint press conference with Clinton, U.S. Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, said that the location where direct talks will be held is still unknown but also stated that most of the talks will be held in the Middle East.
Mitchell added that all core issues will be discussed and that the parties involved in the talks will determine the priorities.
The Quartet Committee will issue a detailed statement regarding the upcoming talks.
Meanwhile, Israel welcomed that U.S. call for resuming direct talks with the Palestinians, while Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that he is pleased with the decision to start talks without preconditions.
Netanyahu said that Israel will head to the talks with a “real motive for peace”, but added that this peace must protect Israel’s national security.
Israel still opposes full withdrawal from all territories illegally captured in 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem, and refuses to recognize the internationally guaranteed right of return of the Palestinian refugees.