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Reply #4: U.S. calls Israeli settlement building 'a problem' [View All]

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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-29-08 06:33 PM
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4. U.S. calls Israeli settlement building 'a problem'

"The United States called Israeli settlement building "a problem" on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began fresh talks in her uphill push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal this year.

The State Department voiced displeasure at Israel's latest plans to build new Jewish settlements after Rice met Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for wide-ranging discussions that also covered Iran and its suspected pursuit of nuclear arms.

Rice later sat down with Ahmed Qurei, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, ahead of three-way talks with him and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who leads the Israeli negotiating team, on Wednesday afternoon.

Negotiations have so far produced no tangible progress and there is deep skepticism among Israelis, Palestinians and analysts that U.S. President George W. Bush can meet his goal of reaching a comprehensive peace agreement this year.

Rice said she would work as hard as possible to help the two sides strike a deal this year but said "nobody should underestimate the difficulty of doing that."

"The Middle East is not going to get better without the creation of a Palestinian state to live side by side with Israel in peace, security and democracy," she added at a news conference with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini."

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