Clinton to Join Second Israeli-Palestinian Meeting

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JERUSALEM, Israel - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to join in the second round of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department announced on Sunday.

The talks have been tentatively scheduled for September 14 in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Middle East envoy George Mitchell plans to accompany Clinton.

On Sunday, Netanyahu told cabinet ministers that reaching an agreement will require thinking "outside the box."

"In order to succeed this time, we must learn the lessons from 17 years of negotiations and think creatively and outside the box in order to reach practical solutions," Netanyahu said.

"I believe it is possible, and I am ready to come to an historic compromise with our neighbors as long as it safeguards our interests and especially our security," he said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is not convinced that an agreement is within reach.

"Signing a comprehensive peace agreement is not an attainable goal, not next year and not in the next generation," Lieberman told Israel Radio on Monday.

"Abbas won't sign. Even historic compromises or painful concessions won't help," he predicted.

Lieberman said Abbas is not in a position to sign a viable agreement.

"Who does Abbas represent? Hamas is in power in Gaza and the elections in the Palestinian Authority have been postponed two or three times," Lieberman pointed out.

"Any government that comes to power in the next elections can renounce Abbas and say he doesn't represent anyone," he said.

Lieberman said he is concerned about reaching an agreement that neither side can keep.

"I am afraid of creating a situation with a lot of expectations that cannot be reached, after which the blame will fall on us…We must speak in realistic terms," Lieberman said.

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