Wednesday, 3 December 2014

US: Talks with Israel only key to Palestinian state

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While more than 130 countries have recognized Palestine as a sovereign state, the United States says the issue of recognizing Palestine as an independent state is conceivable “only” through “direct” talks with Israel.

"The US position is clear, that we support Palestinian statehood but believe it can only be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties that resolve the final status issues," said deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Tuesday.

The US reaffirmed its "crystal clear" stance on Palestine as a sovereign state after French lawmakers on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of a motion to recognize Palestine as an independent state.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the parliament before the vote that the government would not be bound by the vote. He also added that Paris would recognize an independent Palestine if a final round of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians fails to bear any results.

Harf further noted that the vote by the lower house of the French National Assembly was non-binding and the position of the French government on the issue has not changed.

"I think what you’re seeing are people around the world speaking out and saying the status quo is unacceptable," Harf conceded, insisting, "We’ve said that. Everyone has -- a lot of people have said that. But we very firmly believe that the way to achieve” a final solution to the issue “is through direct negotiations."

The last round of talks between Palestinians and the Israeli regime reached a deadlock in April, when Tel Aviv refused to free the last group of 104 Palestinian prisoners in late March as part of a deal for the resumption of the US-sponsored negotiations.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem Al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories. Israel, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

So far 135 countries have recognized the sovereignty of Palestine as a state.

On November 29, 2012, the 193-member United Nations General Assembly voted to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.

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