U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday she had held “productive” talks in Paris with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
AFP reported that during the "candid and productive meeting," Clinton said the two "discussed how to build on his exchange of letters" with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
“I underscored that the United States remains absolutely committed to the goal of a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on two states with two peoples based on peace and security,” Clinton told reporters.
Clinton, who met Abbas on the sidelines of a Friends of Syria meeting hosted in the French capital, added, “At a time of upheaval across the region we cannot lose sight of the critical importance of resolving this issue.”
The talks were the first face-to-face meeting between Abbas and Clinton since September 2011, when they met in New York after Abbas submitted his failed unilateral bid to join the United Nations as a full member.
The PA’s negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP Abbas had explained to Clinton that "the absence of any political perspective" was causing tensions.
He said Abbas asked Clinton, who is expected in Israel in mid-July, to press for the release of Palestinian Authority Arab prisoners being held in Israel, especially those held since before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Abbas, despite having described Netanyahu as ‘a partner for peace’, has repeatedly continued to demand that Israel accept the indefensible pre-1967 lines as final borders, release all Arab terrorists from its jails, and halt construction in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem for a second time before talks begin.
He recently warned that he may seek non-member status for a Palestinian state at the United Nations if peace talks with Israel do not resume.
This week, a planned meeting between Vice Prime Minister and Kadima head Shaul Mofaz and Abbas was postponed. No new date has been set for the meeting.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)