State Dep’t: Time Not Right for Direct Israeli-Palestinian Talks

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State Department spokesman Ned Price (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

Washington will not pressure Israel and the Palestinians to resume direct negotiations, or take other action to improve the conditions for regional peace talks, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday.

In response to a question posed at a press conference, Price said, “We are seeking to see to it that Israelis and Palestinians experience equal measures of safety, of security, of prosperity, and of dignity, but we’ve also been very clear that the starting point that we have right now … is not one where I think we would expect to see direct negotiations between the parties lead to any sort of breakthrough in the near term.”

What the U.S. wants to do, Price explained, is to “pave a path to negotiations” with the goal of seeing to it that Israelis and Palestinians can achieve safety, security, prosperity, and dignity. However, Price said, the U.S. was not explicitly calling for direct negotiations at this time.

“We are also under no illusions about where we are and where we aren’t in terms of what may be viable and what may be on the table,” Price said.

The spokesman opened the press briefing by noting the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Sudan and Morocco have also joined the accords.

“Peace is possible and worthwhile for the leaders who courageously pursue it – and for their peoples,” Price said.

“We will endeavor to ensure that as Israel and other countries in the region join together in a common effort to build bridges and create avenues for dialogue and exchange, we are able to make tangible progress towards the goal of advancing a negotiated peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he added.