US determined not to "tarry" in Mideast peace search
48 minutes ago
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The Obama administration is determined to avoid delay in pursuing its goal of a two-state solution in the Middle East, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Monday.
Rice, speaking at a Security Council meeting aimed at reviving peace talks, repeated calls by President Barack Obama's administration for a Palestinian state, an end to militant violence and a halt to Israeli settlements.
Israel's new right-leaning government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been invited for talks in Washington this month, has so far refused to publicly endorse the creation of a Palestinian state.
"Our interest lies not in a lengthy drawn-out process but in real results. We must not tarry," Rice told the ministerial session called by Russia in its capacity as chair of the 15-member body this month.
"This meeting of the council underscores the priority the international community places on a secure, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East," the US ambassador said.
"That must include a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security," Rice said.
She added that Washington, under Obama, has already "revitalized" its efforts for a comprehensive peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbors, not just the Palestinians but also the Lebanese and Syrians.
Rice said the administration -- which last week called for the Arabs to begin making "meaningful gestures" toward ending Israel's isolation -- "intend to integrate the Arab peace initiative into our own approach."
The 2002 initiative calls for Israel to withdraw from all Arab lands occupied in 1967 in exchange for normalization of ties.
She added the Obama administration totally opposes rocket fire and terrorism against Israelis as well as a future without hope for the Palestinians. Both are "intolerable," Rice said.
"For its part, Israel must halt settlement activity and dismantle outposts erected since March 2001," she said.
"We (also) strongly support reopening Gaza's border crossing in a controlled, sustained and continuous manner with an appropriate monitoring regime," Rice said.
Such a regime, she added, would involve both participation by the international community and the Palestinian Authority, which has controlled only the West Bank since it was ousted from the Gaza Strip by Hamas militants in June 2007.
Rice spoke before the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a non-binding Russian-sponsored statement reaffirming its commitment to a "just and lasting peace" in the Middle East based on a "two-state solution." link
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