Special Envoy Mitchell Provides an Update on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 16, 2010

This evening, Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell provided a readout of the second day of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Jerusalem. Special Envoy Mitchell said:

"...[A] serious and substantive discussion is well underway. The trilateral discussion this evening lasted for about two hours. Present were Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Abbas, Secretary Clinton, and myself. We're grateful to the prime minister and to the Government of Israel for hosting the meeting.

"Prior to the trilateral, Secretary Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu met bilaterally. She will have a separate bilateral meeting with President Abbas tomorrow in Ramallah. Earlier today, the Secretary also met with Israeli President Peres, Foreign Minister Lieberman, Defense Minister Barak, and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad. Her discussions were productive and focused on ways to support the complementary political and institution-building tracks that are both necessary to achieve a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.

"In this evening's meeting, President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu resumed yesterday's discussion of core issues and key challenges to this process. While today, as in the past, what I'm able to share with you is limited, I will say that the two leaders are not leaving the tough issues to the end of their discussions. They are tackling upfront and did so this evening the issues that are at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We take this as a strong indicator of their belief that peace is possible and of their desire to conclude an agreement.

"The president and the prime minister again reiterated their condemnation of violence that targets innocent civilians and reaffirmed their conviction that the goal of two states for two peoples can be achieved only through negotiations. They pledged to continue working together, to maintain security, while steadfastly pursuing this goal. The Secretary and I pledged our full support for their efforts. We reconfirmed that the United States will play a sustained and active role in these negotiations and in the implementation of an agreement. We will stand by the parties as they make the tough choices that are required to secure a better future for their people and for the entire region.

"The two parties agreed that their negotiators will continue these discussions next week to lay the groundwork for the next round of talks at the leadership level. These face-to-face talks are critical for both sides as they work to build trust and confidence.

"Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will travel to Jordan for a meeting with King Abdullah, whose support has been critical to the resumptions of these negotiations. That will be following her meeting with President Abbas in Ramallah. I will travel tomorrow to Damascus for a meeting with President Asad and Foreign Minister Mualem. I will then go on to Beirut for meetings tomorrow evening and Friday with President Suleiman, Prime Minister Hariri, Speaker Berri, and also with senior United Nations officials. I will brief the Syrian and Lebanese leaders and seek to elicit their support for our shared goal of a comprehensive regional peace and will do the same in the next few days with many other leaders from this region."

Read the transcript of Special Envoy Mitchell's press briefing here.

Full coverage of Secretary Clinton's travel to Sharm el-Sheikh, Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Amman is available here.



New Mexico, USA
September 16, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Keep up the good work folks.

The press sometimes reminds me of my cat when she wants dinner..,won't give me a minute's peace until I do.

And I understand the nature and necessity of these negotiations being confidential and private, as there's a lot of emotional public content involved in every aspect and issue discussed.

But folks talk of "the fog of war" and I think this puts folks on the cutting edge of "the fog of diplomacy" and redefining the notion in material ways.

If I were to make a constructive suggestion to the press, we the public arn't even that interested in who talked when with whom or the nuanced subtleties of wording...and let's face it, when has anyone held an "update" on negotiations and said, "We arn't making any progress at all." ??? Even when it's stuck in a ditch waiting for a tow truck.

I'm not suggesting in any way that these are at this moment..folks have gone above and beyond comfort levels to keep them moving in the right direction.

But maybe it's just as well to say to folks that "We'll get back to you next year, when we can present results."

( this is not to say the press shouldn't inquire on occasion if progress is being made)

The public has a hopeful "wait and see" attitude for the most part anyway.

It's like "OK, folks finally detonated the proximity fuse and got a grip, decided to get face to face in each other's face to arrive at a peace treaty, no one can reasonably expect quick results, but we do expect results."
The whole world expects results, excepting those that are doing their best to see these efforts fail miserably.

I figure the less time Sen. Mitchell has to update folks on the fact that he can't tell anyone what's on the menue for discussion, the more time he can spend with the parties solving the roadblocks to peace.

Way I figure it, it will be a whole lot more entertaining once success is achieved to make public all this confidential "blow by blow" negotiation and "best of" out-takes of Diplomacy via those special "break-through moments" recorded for posterity.

Let's put the horse on the front end of that cart, in other words.

Just a thought.


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