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Clinton optimistic about peace deal in Mideast

11-11-2010 09:58 BJT

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday expressed optimism about the prospect of a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, offering an additional 150 million dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority.

The U.S. State Department described as "budget assistance" what Clinton offered to Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad when they spoke via digital video conference.

"We still believe a positive outcome is possible and necessary, " Clinton told reporters about the deadlocked direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, saying Israel's efforts to build more units in east Jerusalem are counterproductive to the peace efforts.

The Israeli government on Monday okayed new construction tenders for over 1,300 apartments it plans to build in east Jerusalem, prompting a furious reaction from the Palestinians, who wish to establish their own state with east Jerusalem as the capital.

The Palestinians called for Israel to extend the 10-month moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank which expired in late September but was rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prompting Palestinian National Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to quit direct negotiations with Netanyahu, which were restarted in early September in Washington under the auspices of the Obama administration.

U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledged on Wednesday that " enormous obstacles" remain in the peace process but stressed that the United States would continue to work toward the goal of setting up an independent Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel.

Clinton is scheduled to meet with Netanyahu Thursday in New York to discuss his stalled peace talks with Abbas.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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