Friday, August 2, 2013

Security preps for peace deal under way

Map of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 2007. Agreeing on acceptable borders is a major difficulty with the two-state solution.

JERUSALEM, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Special U.S. envoy Gen. John Allen has started working on security plans ahead of a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, an official said.

"The security arrangements are critical for any agreement, and therefore General Allen is working on them," a U.S. official told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

Allen serves as U.S. special envoy on security issues and was asked by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to develop a security plan for a final Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, the paper said.

Martin Indyk, the special U.S. envoy appointed to oversee peace talks, is expected to arrive in the region prior to the resumption of talks in little more than a week. The initial talks are expected to focus on the order in which core issues will be discussed, the paper said.

A U.S. State Department official said the U.S. position remains the same as outlined by President Barack Obama in May 2011: a Palestinian state based on 1967 lines, mutual land swaps, Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland of the Jewish people, and a Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people.

"We remain absolutely committed to that position. But it would not be safe to say that the parties have necessarily accepted that as the basis for their negotiations going forward," the official said.

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