The Peace Process Isn't Going Anywhere

With the peace process stalled, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in New Orleans later this week to attend a meeting of U.S. Jewish groups. Vice President Joe Biden is set to meet with Netanyahu when he visits, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office is still trying to arrange a face-to-face after she gets back from travel next week. U.S. special envoy George Mitchell is also expected to sit down with the Israeli prime minister. Despite the frequent rumors about Mitchell’s departure, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said he wasn’t aware of any intentions Mitchell might have to leave his post. Crowley also rejected any plans to move the peace process to the United Nation after some Palestinian and Arab officials suggested that they might try to lobby for Palestinian statehood at the UN. The U.S. spokesman said Washington believes only direct dialogue can bring about a two-state solution.

Since Friday’s foiling of the printer bomb plot, Washington has had a freeze on U.S.-bound cargo coming from Yemen. Yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the ban would continue for at least a week as Yemen’s airport security gets a makeover. The UK is expanding what is now an indefinite halt on cargo from Yemen to Somalia as well.

Continuing her tour of Asia, Secretary Clinton made a stop in Malaysia, attending a town hall meeting and sitting down with the country’s foreign minister and other officials. She called on citizens there to reject extremism and to promote open politics. However, the secretary of state did not meet with Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, who is on trial for sodomy, since that would have been an embarrassment for the government. And while in Malaysia, Clinton reiterated her offer that Washington host talks between Japan and China. Tomorrow, Clinton will be in Papua New Guinea to meet with the country’s prime minister and discuss environmental, rights and governance issues.