Borders deal could eliminate settlement question

Hillary Clinton: "time is ripe" for talks

Hillary Clinton: "time is ripe" for talks

Hillary Clinton has said that “there are lots of ways” for peace talks to proceed between Israel and the Palestinians despite concerns that the upcoming expiry of the West Bank construction freeze will derail the negotiations.

The partial ban on building of Jewish settlements is scheduled to end on September 26, and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had warned that he might walk out of talks if it is not extended.

But the US Secretary of State, speaking as she travelled to Sharm el-Sheikh for the second stage in the revived Middle East peace process, said that agreement on core issues like borders and territory could “eliminate the debate about settlements.”

She also emphasised that the freeze had been “an unprecedented decision by an Israeli government” but had still been roundly criticised “by everyone in the region.”

“And now we're told that negotiations cannot continue, unless something that was viewed as being inadequate continues."

Mrs Clinton has expressed hope that Israel will extend the freeze. But she also said that it was in the interest of both Israel and the Palestinians to forge an agreement “that would enable the negotiations to continue”.

    Last updated: 10:41am, September 14 2010