Rice warns limited time for achieving Mideast peace deal
2 May 2008
LONDON – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned that Israelis and the Palestinians don’t have unlimited time to achieve a peace deal and the expansion of Israeli settlements would not mean those houses would remain under Israeli control under a final peace agreement.
"I do believe that the window for the two-state solution will not be forever open," Rice told reporters Thursday while on a plane to London. "I think you could argue that it has gotten narrower and narrower over time."
The top US diplomat, on her way to talks Friday in London on the stalled Middle East peace process, said Palestinians need to see improvements in their lives to give them hope and confidence to conclude an agreement with Israel.
She also said progress, while slow, was being made in the negotiations although the public could not see such steps being made, given the lack of information on the talks released to the public.
Settlement expansions in the West Bank are "not helpful" and would not necessarily fall within Israel’s jurisdiction in a final deal, Rice said.
"I do not, and the United States government does not, accept that anything that is done prior to an agreement can, in fact, now present a fait accompli or determine the final outcome," the secretary of state said.
"The best thing we can possibly do is finally – finally determine what those borders are going to be," she added.
In London, Rice was also to meet with foreign ministers from Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China on Iran’s nuclear programme before travelling to the Mideast for weekend talks with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.
[dpa / Expatica]