World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


US Reports Progress On Annapolis Document

By David Gollust
State Department

US Reports Progress on Annapolis Document

U.S. officials say Israeli and Palestinian officials are making progress on an agenda for peace talks on the eve of the Annapolis conference. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is working behind the scenes to try to expedite agreement on the document.

The Israelis and Palestinians have been struggling for weeks to come up with a document that will chart the course of peace negotiations after the Annapolis meeting, and officials here are reporting at least measured progress in the hours leading up to the conference.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met over dinner late Sunday with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welch is continuing contacts with the two sides.

In a talk with reporters, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the parties were working well together and hammering away at the terms of the statement, which will commit the sides to resuming talks on final-status issues of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a seven-year break.

McCormack appeared to downplay the importance of terms of any statement that emerges - saying the significance of Annapolis is that it gives a broad international mandate to the intention of the sides to pursue a final peace deal.

"There are many different dimensions as to why Annapolis is important.," he said. "There is the document. There is the fact of the participants list, and the level of participants that you are seeing here. And also Annapolis is less and end point and more of starting point for something, more of a starting point for those final status negotiations."

McCormack stressed that none of the nearly 50 countries and international organizations invited to Annapolis has refused to attend, despite the fact that the official invitations only went out late last week.

Those attending include a dozen member countries of the Arab League committee promoting that organization's 2002 peace initiative to Israel, including several that do not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal is attending as is Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

Syria made its attendance dependent on its ability to raise the issue of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which McCormack said Syria is free to do at the last of three plenary sessions to be held Tuesday at Annapolis, that one focusing on a comprehensive peace in the region.

The other two sessions will center on the Israeli-Palestinian track and on efforts to assist Palestinians in building institutions for statehood, a process being overseen by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, envoy of the international Middle East Quartet.

Secretary Rice will meet her counterparts from the Quartet, which includes Russia, the European Union and the United Nations along with the United States, just before a dinner meeting with all the Annapolis delegates she will host here late Monday.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news