U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States would
like to see Israel halt all settlement activity, and she stressed that
Washington does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlements on
Clinton made the remarks Wednesday in Cairo, after meetings with
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and President Hosni
Aboul Gheit Wednesday accused Israel of hindering the peace process by
continuing its settlement activities. But, he added that both sides
should focus on the endgame.
Clinton drew sharp criticism from Palestinian leaders last week when
she welcomed Israel's offer to restrain settlement activity in order to
start peace negotiations as an "unprecedented" concession.
The 2003 international "roadmap" plan for Middle East peace calls for Israel to halt all settlement activity.
Cairo has been a key U.S. ally in Mideast peace efforts. Clinton had extended her regional visit by one day (through Wednesday) to hold further discussions about Washington's position on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Speaking Tuesday in Marrakech, Morocco, Clinton said the Obama
administration remains committed to a two-state solution for Israelis
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is ready to return
immediately to peace talks without preconditions. Palestinian President
Mahmoud Abbas says there must first be a complete halt to all Israeli
settlement construction on disputed land.
Clinton met with both men this past Saturday, (October 31)
and she has called on both sides to resume peace negotiations
immediately. During the conference in Morocco, the U.S. secretary of
state urged Arab foreign ministers to do their part to help support the
Middle East peace process.