WASHINGTON – The United States on Saturday welcomed the Arab League's decision to postpone its conference by four days, thus allowing it to continue its efforts to prevent the Israeli-Palestinian peace process from coming to an abrupt end.
While the administration had no official comment on the PLO's threat to suspend the direct peace talks, a deadlock for which the Palestinians hold Israel – and its refusal to extend the moratorium on settlement construction – responsible for, a source in the State Department said Washington believes other Arab nations "play a vital part" in the peace process.
Washington, added the source, urges Arab nations to take steps to encourage trust between the parties and "the right momentum for talks."
The State Department believes that the West Bank settlement construction freeze must continue, said the source. Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has remained in the area in order to try and convince both Israel and the PA to resume negotiations.
He is also travelling the region, trying to garner Arab League member nations' support for a League resolution preventing an irreparable impasse.
"We will continue our efforts," said the DC source. "We know this was a tough mission, but we are determined to achieve a comprehensive, viable peace in the Middle East."
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