Sec. Clinton warns of 'setbacks' as Middle East peace talks begin

Sec. Clinton warns of 'setbacks' as Middle East peace talks begin

Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAttorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Paul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book MORE said the United States will be “an active and sustained” partner in helping Israelis and Palestinians make peace, as direct talks between the two sides began Thursday morning at the State Department.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas were holding direct talks for the first time in almost two years, but all the parties cautioned that tough days are ahead.


In opening remarks, Clinton said she and President Obama believe Netanyahu and Abbas "can succeed," but she warned "success will take patience, persistence and leadership."

"I truly believe you are the leaders who can make this long-cherished dream a reality, and we will do everything possible to help you," Clinton said.

Despite West Bank violence earlier this week that threatened to overshadow the talks, both leaders voiced a commitment to peace Thursday.

Netanyahu, speaking after Clinton, said "mutual and painful concessions from both sides" will be necessary for peace.

"We expect you to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said to Abbas, but he added that he is "fully aware and respect your people's desire for sovereignty." 

Abbas called for an end to all Israeli settlements and a complete lifting of the embargo on Gaza, but he said negotiations should lead to peace in a year, the time frame Obama has suggested.

Netanyahu again mentioned the killing of four Israeli settlers by Hamas gunmen earlier this week, and Abbas said Palestinian security forces are working to apprehend those responsible.

Clinton warned there will be further efforts to "try to sabotage this process."

"We've been here before, and we know how difficult the road ahead will be," she said. "There undoubtedly will be obstacles and setbacks."