Yitzhak Benhorin
September 26, 2010 - 12:00am

As officials in the US administration scramble to find a last-minute solution to the West Bank settlement building freeze, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met in the past few days with senior officials from the Arab states in order to promote peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Clinton took the opportunity of the UN General Assembly to meet with the officials in order to speak with them prior to the next meeting of the Arab League next month. The Americans are seeking to secure continued Arab support of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the continuation of direct talks with Israel and, even more so, the normalization of relations with the Jewish state as President Barack Obama called for during his speech before the UN.

Clinton met in New York with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, among others. On Monday, she is salted to hold a rare meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman noted with interest that each time official American figures arrive in Damascus, an Iranian official somehow feels the need to visit immediately after.

Despite this, Feltman said the US is interested in a comprehensive regional peace, including on the Israeli-Syrian channel. He added that it is critical that Syria be part of this process and that the best possible route for achieving true and lasting peace between the two countries is being sought.

Feltman said during a press briefing that the many disagreements between the US and Syria are not going to disappear overnight, but that every effort will be made to promote the US interest of promoting peace talks between Syria and Israel.


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