US secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called on the world to “pressure” both Israel and the Palestinians in order to bring about the resumption of peace negotiations, AFP reported.
Speaking at a joint press conference with her Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Kamel Amr, Clinton said that “Egypt, the United States, the Quartet, everyone must be prepared to put pressure on both parties to try to move towards an agreement on outstanding issues.”
Addressing the contentious issue of settlements and the Palestinians’ insistence that talks cannot begin until Israel agrees to freeze construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Clinton stated, “if there was an agreement on borders, there would be no debate on the settlements, because everyone would know which side of the border was Palestine, and which was Israel.”
The US secretary of state urged both parties to “put aside their misgivings and mistrust,” and return to negotiations, saying “there is no alternative.”
Clinton’s statement comes the same day Quartet representative Tony Blair voiced concern over Israeli plans to build 1,100 new housing units in the south Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is located over the 1967 Green Line, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Referencing a new Quartet initiative to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Blair stated that the building plan “is a cause for concern at a time when we are working to restart negotiations.”
He added: “Our position has always been very clear in opposing construction in settlements, and any acts that are not in accordance with the obligations of the parties in the Road Map.”
Blair called on all parties to “refrain from provocative actions.”