Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell held a special briefing today at the State Department on the successful re-launch of direct negotiations among the United States, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority. Special Envoy Mitchell said, "In the trilateral meeting, there was a long and productive discussion on a range of issues. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed their intent to approach these negotiations in good faith and with a seriousness of purpose. They also agreed that for these negotiations to succeed, they must be kept private and treated with the utmost sensitivity. So what I and they are able to disclose to you today and in the future will be limited, but I will now describe some of the key items that were addressed in the trilateral meeting.
"Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas condemned all forms of violence that target innocent civilians and pledged to work together to maintain security. They reiterated their common goal of two states for two peoples and to a solution to the conflict that resolves all issues, ends all claims, and establishes a viable state of Palestine alongside a secure state of Israel. President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed that these negotiations can be completed within one year and that the aim of the negotiations is to resolve all core issues.
"The parties agreed that a logical next step would be to begin working on achieving a framework agreement for permanent status. The purpose of a framework agreement will be to establish the fundamental compromises necessary to enable them to flesh out and complete a comprehensive treaty that will end the conflict and establish a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The parties agreed that in their actions and statements they will work to create an atmosphere of trust that will be conducive to reaching a final agreement.
"They agreed to meet again on September 14 and 15 in the region and roughly two weeks thereafter -- every two weeks thereafter. Of course, continued interactions at other levels between the parties and also yet others involving the United States will take place between those meetings. In fact, a preparatory trilateral meeting to plan for that second meeting in the region has already begun at another location in this building and will continue here and in the region between now and September 14th, as is necessary.
"As both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have said, the United States pledges its full support to the parties in these talks. We will be an active and sustained partner throughout. We will put our full weight behind these negotiations and will stand by the parties as they make the difficult decisions necessary to secure a better future for their citizens."
A complete transcript of the briefing is available here.