PREPARATIONS UNDER WAY FOR PEACE PLAN AFTER ISRAELI ELECTIONS, POMPEO SAYS
Pompeo recently toured the Middle East and is planning a summit in Warsaw next month.
BY MICHAEL WILNER. JANUARY 22, 2019
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has begun laying the groundwork for talks between Israelis and Palestinians, sharing elements of the plan with partners in the region ahead of an anticipated rollout after Israel’s April 9 elections, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday.
Speaking via video link to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the secretary said that there is a path forward for the administration to bring Israelis and Palestinians together. That is despite a breakdown in relations between Washington and Ramallah ever since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital one year ago.
Peace talks will not be “driven” by the US, but by Israelis and Palestinians themselves, Pompeo said. But he did reference a US-led process that could launch after Israelis go to the polls.
Other senior administration officials have hinted at a delay in releasing the plan past Israel’s elections, despite Trump’s stated goal of publishing the plan by the end of this month.
Pompeo addressed the Davos forum remotely after a delegation of Trump officials canceled their trip to the Swiss event due to the US government shutdown.
He also repeated his claim that the Islamic State caliphate had been “defeated” in Iraq and Syria, despite warnings from coalition partners and resigning Trump administration officials that the terrorist group remains an organized threat.