Netanyahu sees ‘progress’ in US talks on settlements


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 6

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had made “progress” in talks in Washington over how to reconcile continued building in east Jerusalem and US efforts to revive peace talks.

“We found a balance between the traditional policy followed by all Israeli governments and our willingness to find ways to revive the peace process. We have made progress,” Netanyahu told Israeli army radio.

Netanyahu was returning home yesterday having failed to resolve a bitter dispute with Washington over the construction of new Jewish settlements.

Despite multiple meetings with senior US officials, including an unexpected second round of talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Netanyahu appeared unable to tamp down the row over the construction of 1,600 new settler homes in east Jerusalem.

Ahead of his scheduled departure, Netanyahu huddled in his Washington hotel with US envoy George Mitchell for a last round of talks.

However, he canceled planned interviews with reporters, Israeli media said, and he had none of the customary public appearances, even for photo ops, with US officials during his trip.

Obama asked Netanyahu during two high-stakes meetings late on Tuesday to take specific “­confidence-building” steps to boost indirect talks Washington is trying to arrange with the Palestinians.