Thursday, April 29, 2010

US gives Abbas private assurances over Israeli settlements

Americans consider withholding veto protecting Israel at UN if building goes ahead at Ramat Shlomo

The US has given private assurances to encourage the Palestinians to join indirect Middle East peace talks, including an offer to consider allowing UN security council condemnation of any significant new Israeli settlement activity, the Guardian has learned.

The assurances were given verbally in a meeting a week ago between a senior US diplomat and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Since then – and after months of US diplomacy – it appears Israeli and Palestinian leaders are close to starting indirect "proximity" talks, which would be the first resumption of the Middle East peace process since Israel's war in Gaza began in late 2008.