The US has signalled that it intends to maintain its leading position in facilitating Middle East peace talks with its announcement of discussions aimed at renewing the peace process.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has announced that the US is holding separate discussions with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in an attempt to kick start negotiations between the two sides.
The announcement has come as French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe released French proposals for a peace conference in June, which Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas immediately accepted.
Clinton, speaking alongside Juppe in Washington has said that though the US and France will certainly be working together on renewing talks, “we do not think that it would be productive for there to be a conference about returning to negotiations”.
Israel is currently reviewing the French proposal.
Peace talks have stalled since Israel recommenced building illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The situation has been further complicated by the Palestinian reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas and Palestinian intention to unilaterally declare statehood at the UN in September.
Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas, whom it considers a terrorist organisation. Both the US and Israel have condemned Palestinian plans for statehood in September as “unhelpful”.