Thu, November 18, 2010
World > Americas > Middle East peace in talk

US writing assurances for Israel to resume talks

2010-11-18 05:41:50 GMT2010-11-18 13:41:50 (Beijing Time)

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at his office in Jerusalem November 15, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is drafting written diplomatic and security assurances to Israel to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government it to renew a freeze on West Bank settlement activity, a senior US official said Wednesday.

The document will set out details of a package discussed last week between Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"It was always envisioned that there would be a letter detailing our understandings," the official said. "We are nailing down the specifics."

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive diplomacy involved in persuading Israel and the Palestinians to resume stalled direct peace talks.

The US has proposed a 90-day slowdown on West Bank settlement construction to help bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table and in exchange offered a package of incentives to Israel.

Netanyahu has signaled he is ready to comply but is seeking the written assurances he will not have to extend the settlement freeze after the three months are up.


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