Hillary Clinton Meets with Israel and Palestine About Resuming Peace Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at the launch of the 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls Through International Exchanges at the State Department in Washington on MArch 7, 2011.  UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Hillary Clinton held talks with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on Monday to discuss the re-opening of peace talks between the two countries.

The US Secretary of State also met with visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, but said she would not support Juppe's proposal of a Paris conference.

"We strongly support a return to negotiations, but we do not think that it would be productive for there to be a conference about returning to negotiations. There has to be a return to negotiations, which will take a lot of persuasion and preliminary work in order to set up a productive meeting between the parties," she told Reuters, adding that Washington has adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas intends to seek United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN General Assembly meeting in September--a that Israel and the United States say will only cause tensions to rise.

Chief among US concerns is that Hamas--the Islamic faction that controls Gaza and refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist--will have a role in the proposed government, though Abbas has referred to the proposed ruling faction as "technocratic," which has done little to assuage the US's concern.

"It is not enough for us that it would be called technocratic," Clinton told Reuters. "If Hamas is involved we think that undermines the whole purpose of negotiations because we would have a party that rejects Israel's right to exist."

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