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Arab League Says U.S. Must Get More Time To Save Mideast Talks

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (center) shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas (right) as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem last month.
Foreign ministers of countries in the Arab League have agreed that the United States should be given at least another month to try to save peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.

Meeting in the Libyan town of Sirte, the ministers on October 8 endorsed the decision by the Palestinian leadership to stay away from the talks until Israel renews a ban on settlement building on disputed West Bank land.

But the ministers said the United States should also be given more time to resolve the problem before the Arab League discusses alternatives to the current round of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

In a statement released late on October 8, the U.S. State Department welcomed the announcement by the Arab states.

The statement pledged that U.S. officials would continue to work with international partners toward a solution to the Middle East conflict that would involve the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

The Israeli-Palestinian talks began in September, but stalled after Israel refused to extend a West Bank building freeze on land the Palestinians hope to have in the capital of a future independent Palestinian state.

compiled from agency reports