Obama to hold joint meeting with Abbas, Netanyahu

Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab as an occupier "state".

Obama to hold joint meeting with Abbas, Netanyahu

U.S. President Barack Obama will hold a joint meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to try to restart peace talks between the two sides, the White House said.

The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law. The United States and European Union regard them as obstacles to peace.

The meeting -- the first between the three men -- will be held in New York, where the U.N. General Assembly takes place next week.

Obama will meet with each leader separately before convening a joint session with them, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in the statement, released on Saturday.

U.S. Special Envoy George Mitchell just ended a week of shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East with little to show for his efforts as Israel refuses US positions on Jewish settlements.

Gibbs said the meeting would continue U.S. efforts to "lay the groundwork for the relaunch of negotiations and to create a positive context for those negotiations so that they can succeed."

Mitchell praised Obama for stepping in.

"It is another sign of the president's deep commitment to comprehensive peace that he wants to personally engage at this juncture," Mitchell said in the White House statement.

He said the United States was continuing efforts to "encourage all sides to take responsibility for peace and to create a positive context for the resumption of negotiations."

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no announcement was expected to come out of the meeting.

"These three leaders are going to sit down in the same room and continue to narrow the gaps," the official said.

Palestinian leaders have said U.S.-backed peace negotiations with Israel could not resume unless there was a complete halt to settlement expansion in the West Bank, Israeli-occupied territory where they hope to establish a state.

Netanyahu has offered to freeze building in the West Bank just for nine months, Israeli officials have said.

Palestinians reject Netanyahu's refusal on excluding East Jerusalem from any freeze.

Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab as an occupier "state".


Agencies

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2009, 16:26
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