Hague Urges U.S. to Help Revive Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is “slipping away” and urged the winner of the U.S. presidential election to put their weight behind a renewed bid for peace.

“In our view the priority is for the United States -- obviously after their election and whoever is successful -- to lead a major push to restart negotiations to arrive at a two-state solution,” Hague told lawmakers in Parliament in London today. “The opportunity to do so is slipping away and may have slipped away in another year or two.”

Hague condemned Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to proceed with a United Nations statehood bid next month. The move to upgrade the Palestine Liberation Organization’s status to that of a “non-member state” in the UN General Assembly comes a year after the failed effort to obtain full membership through the Security Council.

“We are advising President Abbas not to go down this path,” Hague said, calling it a “divisive” and “symbolic gesture.”

By forcing the statehood issue Palestinians risk jeopardizing international aid that accounts for about 14 percent of gross domestic product and inviting retaliatory measures from Israel, which captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war.

Separately, Hague said the crisis in Syria is not “containable” and he again blamed Russia and China for refusing to back a resolution at the United Nations in July aimed at increasing pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go.

“There is no change in the position of Russia as things stand and this is a tragedy for Syrians and the world,” Hague said, adding that about 14,000 Syrians had died since the UN move was blocked.

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