Sept. 27 - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Israel's decision to build 1100 settlement homes in the West Bank is ''counterproductive'' to Middle East peace. Sarah Irwin reports.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Israel's decision to build 1100 settlement homes in the West Bank is "counterproductive" to Middle East peace and could further stall talks. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "We believe that this morning's announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of (1100) housing units in East Jerusalem is counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties." Clinton - appearing at a joint news conference with the Portuguese Foreign Minister in Washington - said parties should focus on a return to direct talks. But, Israel's plan to build new homes in the West Bank could make it even less likely that the Israelis and Palestinians will resume negotiations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has made ending Israeli settlement building a condition for a return to talks. Last Friday, Abbas applied at the UN for full Palestinian membership - a move Israel and U.S. oppose. The European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, the so-called Quartet - had called for talks to begin within a month - but urged both sides not to take unilateral actions that could hinder peacemaking. Sarah Irwin, Reuters.