Laura Rozen on George Mitchell

Laura Rozen has reported on Politico on 3 September that “One diplomat who attended a State Department briefing Friday for Western country diplomats on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks noted the administration is keeping its cards close to the chest with their allies as well. ‘Every question was answered with “it’s up to the parties to decide”, or “no comment”, or “let’s not get ahead of ourselves”,’ he said of the forty minute briefing. ‘Virtually nothing was said that wasn’t direct quotes from Obama, Clinton, or Mitchell’ in recent days, he added. The administration is trying to brief more and do more outreach, while at the same time be quite secretive and stingy with details so as not to imperil fragile peace efforts … at a Tuesday briefing at the National Security Council, Mitchell regaled journalists – and sounded like he would be happy to go on even longer — on what was analogous and not between the Northern Irish peace effort vs. the current Middle East one, which hadn’t quite been asked by anyone. He filled the time with anodyne observations without stepping on more delicate current territory, no doubt an art in and of itself. The diplomat said he understood the discretion so as not to spoil the chances of success. His only issue was that they perhaps shouldn’t invite a lot of people for a briefing if the purpose was to have an excuse to decline a more detailed one in person at a later date”.

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Quartet on U.S. invitation: negotiations can be completed in one year

Here is what the Quartet said after the U.S. issued invitations to Israel and the Palestinian leadership today, to start direct talks in Washington D.C. on 2 September:

“The representatives of the Quartet reaffirm their strong support for direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians to resolve all final status issues. The Quartet reaffirms its full commitment to its previous statements, including in Trieste on 26 June 2009, in New York on 24 September 2009, and its statement in Moscow on 19 March 2010 which provides that direct, bilateral negotiations that resolve all final status issues should ‘lead to a settlement, negotiated between the parties, that ends the occupation which began in 1967 and results in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors’. The Quartet expresses its determination to support the parties throughout the negotiations, which can be completed within one year, and the implementation of an agreement”…

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