U.S. seeks Arab aid in Mideast peace talks

May 27, 2009 at 7:18 PM

WASHINGTON, May 27 (UPI) -- The United States has asked Arab countries what can be expected of them in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

"We are making a very concerted effort," Clinton said Wednesday during a media availability with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit. "We have a well-thought-out approach that we are pursuing. We have a lot of support from countries such as Egypt."

She said U.S. officials contacted Arab governments "asking what they could be expected to do as we move forward to build confidence and to create a good atmosphere for decisions to be made."

She said she would meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of his meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday.

Gheit said he stressed to Clinton the need not only to allow parties to negotiate, but also to allow Arab countries to show support in hopes that the negotiations would "lead to the emergence of the Palestinian state as soon as possible."

The absence of successful negotiations leading to a two-state solution would worsen the situation in the region and the world, Gheit said.

"So there is an opportunity, a window of opportunity, and let's act and act decisively now, not tomorrow or the day after," he said.

Ultimately, "Israel and the Palestinians have to decide that they will take a commitment toward a resolution of their outstanding concerns," Clinton said. "And the international community, led by the United States, will be very supportive of that."

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