Albright Sees Middle East Talks being 'very, very Hard'
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Sunday warned that negotiations at the upcoming Israeli-Palestinian summit will be "very, very hard" but are crucial to averting further violence in the region.
"It is important to have the right level of expectations: this is very, very hard. Nobody says it isn't. But it is also a responsibility we believe we have, to try to see what can be done," she said on the US television network ABC.
She also warned of the possibility of an eruption of violence if the talks fall apart with the September 13th deadline that the two sides set for reaching a final accord looming.
"There is a possibility that, if there is not a resolution, there could be the descent into violence," she said. "That is why we want make sure we are giving the maximum effort."
According to Albright, the decision by President Bill Clinton to invite Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian president Yasser Arafat to talks at Camp David, outside Washington, was spurred in part by worry over the consequences of failing to bring the two sides together.
"The president, after my trip to the region and reports from other negotiators, thought that this was the time to go ahead, because it is also high stakes if we don't go ahead -- the situation there is serious, it could unravel, there could be violence," she said.
"President Clinton is deeply immersed in all of this and he will be there the majority of the time, and then we'll see about a new dynamic," she said, adding: "We keep working very hard."
Barak and Arafat were expected to arrive late Monday in the United States, to try, with Clinton, to resolve the conflict that has pitted their peoples against each other for over half a century - WASHINGTON (AFP)
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