U.S. hopes for Mideast peace traction
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is accelerating diplomatic efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks although there is little evidence the two sides are ready to resume direct negotiations.
With most Mideast experts focused on the crisis in Syria and political upheaval in Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has stepped up contacts with Israeli and Palestinian officials over the past week to persuade them to return to the table, beginning with a high-level meeting between Israeli Deputy Premier Shaul Mofaz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Clinton met on Wednesday with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mofaz, a center-left politician who has said peace with the Palestinians should be an Israeli priority. Last week, Clinton met Israel's lead negotiator, Yitzhak Molcho, and spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas.
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