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U.S. joins GCC slam on settlement

The United States joined Arab nations in urging Israel to end settlement activity in the West Bank.

“The Ministers expressed their concern about the continuing building of settlements in the occupied territories and the negative impact this has on the peace negotiations,” said a statement issued in New York by the Gulf Cooperation Council, a body comprising Persian Gulf states as well as Egypt, Jordan and the United States. The statement was released after foreign ministers of the member countries met during the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

“They urged Israel to establish a moratorium on settlement activities and to dismantle settlement outposts,” the statement said.

The statement also expressed support for the Arab League Initiative, which proposes that Israel return to the 1967 borders in exchange for comprehensive peace, but is vague on the final status of Palestinian refugees.

Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. Secretary of State, was at the meeting.

No mention was made in the statement of Israel’s demands that the Palestinians prevent terrorist attacks.

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