Obama. Won't meet with Netanyahu next week
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WASHINGTON – US State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley refused Wednesday to directly address a Washington Post report that President Barack Obama was seriously considering to present a Middle East peace plan in the fall.
Crowley did say that Washington would not try to impose a certain stand on the parties at this stage.
Administration officials fear that the Washington Post report would harm efforts to advance the "proximity talks" between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the direct negotiations.
According to the report, the American plan would be based on an outline presented by former US President Bill Clinton in 2000. Obama consulted former national security advisors, who gave their blessing for the move.
Crowley clarified that the US would suggest its own ideas, as it has done before, as part of the peace talks, in order to bridge the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians.
He said the administration was in touch with the parties and sought to launch the negotiations as soon as possible, adding that that was the only way to reach agreements and end the conflict.
He reiterated that the United States was willing to play an active role as soon as the parties entered the negotiations, but did not elaborate.
The State Department refused to address the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Israeli leader's visit to Washington next week for Obama's Nuclear Security Summit.
Earlier, the White House clarified that Obama would not meet with Netanyahu next week. Washington is expecting the arrival of 46 foreign leaders, and the president has scheduled meetings with only nine of them.