Special Envoy Mitchell left the Middle East on Sunday, after completing the first round of proximity talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The talks were serious and wide-ranging.
Both parties are taking some steps to help create an atmosphere that is conducive to successful talks, including President Abbas’ statement that he will work against incitement of any sort and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that there will be no construction at the Ramat Shlomo project for two years. They are both trying to move forward in difficult circumstances and we commend them for that.
We have received commitments from both sides, and we have made assurances to both sides, that are enabling us to move forward. The full scope of these discussions will remain private.
As both parties know, if either takes significant actions during the proximity talks that we judge would seriously undermine trust, we will respond to hold them accountable and ensure that negotiations continue.
Special Envoy Mitchell emphasized the importance of making progress in these talks to enable the parties to move to direct negotiations that will result in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our overall goal remains a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.
He will return to the region next week to continue the proximity talks.