US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Palestinians and Israelis to tackle "without delay" the core issues of their conflict. Clinton made the call in a speech. She urged both sides to get to the heart of the issues dividing them even if they cannot agree to meet face-to-face because the Palestinians first demand a halt to settlements.
"It is time to grapple with the core issues of this conflict: on borders and security, settlements, water and refugees, and on Jerusalem itself," Clinton stated. "In the days ahead, our discussions with both sides will be substantive, two-way conversations, with an eye toward making real progress in the next few months on the key questions of an eventual framework agreement," she said, according to AFP. "The United States will not be a passive participant," Clinton said. "We will push the parties to lay out their positions on the core issues without delay, and with real specificity," she said.
"We will work to narrow the gaps, asking tough questions and expecting substantive answers. And, in the context of our private conversations with the parties, we will offer our own ideas and bridging proposals when appropriate." She acknowledged that direct talks were still required to reach a framework agreement, but she expected that both sides, after tackling some of the core issues, would re-establish enough trust to return to face-to-face talks.