Friday, March 19, 2010

World diplomats urge resumption of Mideast talks

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks with U.S. special envoy for Mideast peace, George Mitchell during talks in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 19, 2010. Clinton is participating in a meeting of the Quartet of Middle East peace mediators ? the U.S., Russia, the EU and the United Nations. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
MOSCOW -- International diplomats on Friday called on Israel and the Palestinians to return to peace negotiations with the goal of creating an independent Palestinian state within two years. They reiterated their condemnation of Israel's latest move to add Jewish housing in disputed east Jerusalem but did not escalate criticism of the Jewish state.

The so-called Quartet group of Mideast negotiators met in the Russian capital to set the stage for peace talks in which the United States would be a go-between. Those indirect talks, also called proximity talks, would be the first under the Democratic Obama administration and the hawkish Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At a news conference after the meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke approvingly of indications Netanyahu is ready to address her country's concerns.

Clinton said she expects to see Netanyahu in Washington next week.

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