Tag Archives: us

US Envoy Mitchell in Saudi to Meet King

Standard

RIYADH, April 20, 2009 – US special envoy George Mitchell flew in to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss Middle East peace efforts with King Abdullah, US officials said.

Mitchell was scheduled to meet Abdullah, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal and possibly other top officials, a US embassy spokesman said.

He arrived in Riyadh after stops in Israel, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where he emphasized US support for a two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Riyadh has also strongly advocated a two-state solution with its 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers Israel blanket Arab recognition in exchange for creating a Palestinian state based on an Israeli pullout from occupied land.

Prince Faisal and other senior Saudi diplomats have called on Washington to pressure Israel into negotiations for a final peace deal.

Spearheading US President Barack Obama’s efforts to revive peace talks, Mitchell said in Cairo on Saturday that Washington would exert “great energy” in pursuit of a two-state settlement.

“It has been the policy of the United States for many years that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies in a two-state solution,” he told reporters after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier in the week, Mitchell met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. But his message was met with scepticism by some in Netanyahu’s hawkish cabinet.

“In the present circumstances, one has to work not for two states for two people, but for two economies for two people,” Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said on Thursday.

Read the rest of this entry

Egypt Envoy in US to Seek Softer Stand on Hamas

Standard

CAIRO, March 18, 2009 – Egypt has sent a senior official to Washington to seek a relaxation of the US conditions for Hamas to join an internationally recognised Palestinian government.

Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s pointman for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, was in Washington on Tuesday, an Egyptian source said, asking not to be named, amid faltering Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo.

Senior delegations from the Islamist movement Hamas, the Western-backed Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and other groups began work eight days ago in committees formed to resolve their differences.

Fatah and Hamas have been bitterly divided since Hamas, which won a majority in a 2006 parliament election, seized the Gaza Strip in a week of deadly fighting in June 2007, thus limiting Abbas’s authority to the West Bank.

“Egypt is making efforts with foreign parties, notably the US

administration, to obtain agreement to a compromise formula that would be acceptable for Hamas and the international community,” Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine delegate Kayed al-Ghoul told AFP.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit is also currently in Brussels for talks with officials including European Union foreign policy chief Xavier Solana.

The Middle East Quartet — consisting of the US and EU as well as the United Nations and Russia — has conditioned dealing with Hamas on its recognition of Israel and commitment to past Palestinian-Israeli agreements.

Hamas, and some smaller Palestinian factions, say the Quartet’s conditions are unacceptable.

Read the rest of this entry

U.S. Makes First Move, Invites Iran to Afghan Meet

Standard

Brussels, March 6 – In a major U.S. shift, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Thursday the United States planned to invite Iran to attend an international conference on Afghanistan planned for later this month.

“If we move forward with such a meeting, it is expected that Iran would be invited as a neighbour of Afghanistan,” Clinton told a news conference in Brussels after meeting NATO foreign ministers.

Read the rest of this entry

Jalili: US, Western Countries Quite Unaware of Realities in Region

Standard

Tehran, March 6 – Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili held separate talks with the speakers of Lebanese Parliament and Afghan Senate on the issue of Palestine and regional developments.

The meetings took place on the sidelines of the 4th International Conference for Support for Palestine, the Model of Resistance, and Gaza the Victim of War Crimes which began in the Iranian capital on March 4 in Tehran.

In his meeting with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Jalili said “Lebanon’s Islamic resistance is regarded as an auspicious sapling which grew and spread its roots under hard conditions. It has now turned into a strong tree in the entire region and disrupted all political and military calculations of the Zionist regime and its westerns allies.”

“Since the new US president came to office with the motto of change, we should wait and see future political developments in the region in order to judge his claim,” Jalili said.

In a another meeting with Afghan Speaker of the Senate (House of the Elders) Sibghatullah Mojaddedi, Jalili said the US and the western countries do not know how to deal with the Afghan issues due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of the existing realities in that region.

Afghanistan is a country with courageous and zealous people who never yield to colonialism, he said.

“If they had dispatched tractors instead of tanks to Afghanistan, the country?s situation would have improved,” he underlined.

Mojaddedi, for his part, thanked the Islamic Republic of Iran for its support for Afghan people during war and post war eras and said existing ties between the two nations are deep rooted and brotherly.

Meanwhile Palestinian official responsible for Foreign Relations of Political Department of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine thanked Iran for organizing Conference in Support of Palestine.

“We practically need such conferences to support the Palestinian cause,” Abu Khalil told IRNA on the sidelines conference. “We thank Iran for its overwhelming support for the cause of Palestine.”

Asked to comment on an Arab leader?s statement calling on Iran to stand aside from the issue of Palestine, he said that the Arab leaders have stood idle over the past 60 years and now that Iran supports Palestine, they say Palestine is an Arab issue.

He said that the Arab leaders have no courage to say no to Israel.

Read the rest of this entry

US, Pakistan to Join Trilateral Afghan Talks

Standard

Washington, Feb 24, 2009 – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will Thursday meet with both her Pakistani and Afghan counterparts to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, officials said Monday.

She will first hold seperate talks on Tuesday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at the State Department, said spokesman Robert Wood.

On Thursday, Clinton will meet with Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta before the three-way talks, which will help inform an ongoing review on US policy in Afghanistan.

“I believe there is a trilateral meeting that is supposed to take place on Thursday, and then a trilateral dinner on Wednesday,” Wood told reporters.

“We obviously want to hear from a wide variety of voices about the situation … with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“And the secretary looks forward to meeting with both ministers, hearing their views, and of course sharing our views on what we believe is going on, on the ground. And as I said, that will all feed into our overall review.”

The Pakistani and Afghan delegations will meet during the week with the working group charged by President Barack Obama with handling the review, which is co-chaired by special US envoy to the region Richard Holbrooke.

Former CIA chief Bruce Riedel and assistant secretary of defense Michele Flournoy also co-chair the review panel which met for the first time on Wednesday.

Their report is due to be presented to Obama before the NATO summit on April 3 and 4 in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany.

Read the rest of this entry