US encourages Arab states to establish ties with Israel
US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welsh on Tuesday urged the Arab countries that have no diplomatic ties with Israel to establish relations with it, dpa reported.
"We would like to see some action taken by Arab countries, which do not have relations with Israel, to establish ties with it," he said, in remarks after his meeting with Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa. "We would also like to see Israel do the same thing and get closer to Arab states, as peoples on both sides are willing to live in peace."
Egypt is the only Arab Mediterranean country with full diplomatic ties with Israel. Arab states adopted a peace initiative in 2002, which makes normalizing relations with Israel conditional on its withdrawal from Arab territories occupied in 1967.
During their meeting, Welsh and Mussa discussed the results of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and ongoing efforts in the peace process.
Welsh said the US is "committed to continuously support the negotiations, and we hope negotiations are resumed at the nearest possible opportunity."
When asked to comment on recent statements made by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Ehud Barak calling for a regional peace initiative, Welsh said: "The present peace initiative is useful to deal with it."
"The United States is keen on developing its relations with the world," said Welsh who met earlier with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.
"We are looking forward to the next phase of our joint efforts with regard to the peace process, especially after the formation of the new Israeli government," he said, adding that he discussed many topics with Abul Gheit, including Lebanon, the situation in Iraq and the US security pact.