U.S. Vows to Continue Mideast Peace Process

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A U.S. State Department official said Thursday that the United States would continue pressing for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"We're going to be working hard to see what we can do to move the process forward," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told Reuters.

"We have to engage constantly and remind the parties of their obligations and to try to set up a framework, a process for getting us toward that goal of a two-state solution," he said, "because we believe it's in the best interests of all the parties in the region."

Wood noted that Israel's incoming foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is "well aware" of the U.S. government's position.

Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel our Home) party's surprise third-place finish in the national elections reflected growing support for his straightforward approach to negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA).

On Wednesday, Lieberman's remarks to the Foreign Ministry's staff elicited a frenzied response from outgoing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, as well many liberal media outlets both in Israel and abroad.

While Lieberman supports the Road Map for peace plan, he does not put much credence in the U.S.-sponsored Annapolis conference.

There is one document that obligates us [the Road Map], and that's not the [resolution from] the Annapolis conference. It has no validity," Lieberman told his staff.

"We will never agree to jump over all the clauses and go to the last one, which is negotiations over a final status agreement," he said, noting that the (Road Map) agreement also called for the dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure and establishing Palestinian institutions that could function effectively.

Source: Reuters, The Jerusalem Post

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