Washington: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said on Thursday talks between Israel and the Palestinians were progressing in a constructive way.
“I would say they’re in a constructive channel and that has been very reassuring to us,” Clinton told ABC News in an interview in Jerusalem while traveling in the region to help the two sides tackle the main issues of the west Asia (middle east) conflict.
Clinton said the United States hoped Israel would extend the partial moratorium on construction in settlements in the occupied West Bank past the 30 September expiration.
“That certainly is our hope,” she said. “We’ve also said we will support an agreement that is reached between the parties.”
“We are working hard to make sure there remains a conducive atmosphere to constructive talks,” she said, noting that it took Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a lot of political capital” to achieve the moratorium in the first place.
Palestinians say they will leave the talks if construction resumes in the settlements which are built on land they want for a state and which they fear would deny them a viable and contiguous country.
US middle east envoy George Mitchell was upbeat about the talks on Wednesday, saying the two sides had already begun tackling the tough issues which he took as a “strong indicator” of their belief that peace is possible.