The president is seeking a statement from the European Union, Russia, and the UN – that would set the path for a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority no matter what happens Friday.
The United States is shifting its attempt to salvage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process into overdrive, with both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton putting the issue at the top of their agendas as they meet with other world leaders at the United Nations in New York this week.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has appeared undeterred in his intention to seek full UN membership for an independent Palestine when he speaks to the world body Friday. So the focus now, according to US officials, is to arrive at a statement from world leaders who shepherd the peace process – the so-called “Quartet” of the US, the European Union, Russia, and the UN – that would set the path for a resumption of direct negotiations between the two parties no matter what happens Friday.
Secretary Clinton discussed the Middle East issue at length when she met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday, and the two chief diplomats agreed to have their specialists on the peace process – and those of the other Quartet members – meet again Tuesday to continue work on a statement that could relaunch direct negotiations.