Bolton: Mideast Talks Unlikely to Produce Breakthrough

Tuesday, 30 Jul 2013 01:40 PM

By Christiana Lilly

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Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said he was not optimistic about the outcome of peace talks brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry, who arranged for Palestine and Israel negotiators to meet in Washington.

"The basic positions of Palestine and Israel remain very far apart and one of the biggest problems is on the Palestinian side," Bolton told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Tuesday. "Nothing really has changed to provide any basis to think that substantively they could come to an agreement."

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are engaged in what is planned to be nine months of talks between the two nations. There have not been peace talks in three years.

Israel recently promised to gradually release more than 100 prisoners back to Palestine, to the dismay of many Israelis.

Even so, Palestine is "ungrateful" because it wants the prisoners released at once, Bolton said.

Bolton said the hostility toward the act of goodwill is not a good start to the talks in Washington, which he believes are more for logistics and plotting out the next nine months of talks.

"It is no secret this is a difficult process. If it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago," Kerry said at a press conference.

Bolton also believes that events in the rest of the Middle East overshadow the Israel-Palestinian issue.

A civil war has been raging in Syria with more than 100,000 people killed; Egyptians recently overthrew President Mohammed Morsi; and Libya is in a state of unrest. And in Israel, more threats are coming from Iran's nuclear program.

"Israel could make a lot of progress with the Palestinians; it wouldn't change the strategic balance of the Middle East at all," Bolton said. "It’s hard to imagine a less likely time for there to be progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front."

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