Sunday, May 17, 2009

US official: No new peace plan, for now

Senior White House official says administration sees coming visit by Israeli premier to Washington as opportunity to discuss mutual interests; adds Obama expects Israel, Palestinians to live up to Road Map commitments

Yitzhak Benhorin
Israel News

WASHINGTON – White House sources said Saturday that the Obama administration has no interest in drumming up conflict while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on his Washington visit this week. The US, one source said, does not intend to present the sides with a revised peace plan, and its policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process will be finalized only after Obama's meetings with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Full Story

A senior White House official told reporters that the US will insist Israel halt settlement construction and remove non-imperative checkpoints in the West Bank, and that the administration will insist the Palestinians live up to their commitments regarding security matters and the fight against terror.

The subject of Israel living up to its Road Map undertakings will be a key issue in the Israeli premier's meeting with the US president, said the official.

'Opportunity to push 2-state solution'
Netanyahu and Obama are scheduled to meet Monday. Their meeting will be followed by a luncheon, meant to help the two forge a personal connection.

Obama is looking forward to discuss common interests with Netanyahu, said the source, and the meeting is considered an opportunity to push the two-state solution, which Obama believes to be a national security interest for the US.

As for the current link suggested recently between the Palestinian issue and the Iranian threat, the White House official said that the two were linked to a certain extent and that Iran was a cause for concern for the US, Israel and all Arab nations. Obama, he added, is "aware of the urgency of the matter."

As for recent visits by US envoys to Syria, the sources said that the American president was committed to promoting peace between Israel and its neighbors, including Syria and Lebanon.

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