George Mitchell on direct talks

U.S. Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell told journalists after the September 1 + 2 meetings in Washington that were said to have relaunched direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians that “Any realistic appraisal of the situation, including the recent history – by which I mean the last two decades – makes clear that there are very serious differences between the parties, that there are many difficulties which lay ahead both in terms of the substance of the issues, the impact on their domestic politics, the needs and interests of their societies. We have not, of course, attempted to prescribe what they can or should say about any issue. These are independent and extremely able leaders representing the interests of their societies. What we have sought to convey in innumerable conversations that I have had personally with both leaders over many, many months is President Obama’s conviction that despite all of the difficulties – near term, long term, political, substantive, personal, and otherwise – the paramount goal of making the lives of their citizens more safe, more secure, more prosperous, more full can best be achieved by a meaningful and lasting peace between the parties and in the region; that the alternative to that poses difficulties and dangers far greater to the individuals, to the leaders, to their societies, than those risks which they run in an effort to reach an agreement that brings about their lasting peace; that any realistic evaluation of the self-interest of the people of Israel and the Palestinian people must, in our judgment, conclude that they are far better off living side by side in two states in peace and security than in a continuation of the current situation“.

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