Clinton: Turkey needs to keep open mind about Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Turkish Foreign MInister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, Turkey in July 2011
September 19th, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Clinton: Turkey needs to keep open mind about Israel

By Senior State Department Producer Elise Labott reporting from the UN General Assembly

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday urged Turkey not to close the door on mending fences with Israel, amid deteriorating relations between the two countries.

Clinton delivered the message during a meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly

"We want to see them repair their relationship," a senior US official said after the meeting. "She encouraged Turkey to keep the door open."

The official was not authorized to speak on the record about sensitive diplomatic discussions.

Clinton encouraged the Turks "to avoid any steps that would close that door and on the contrary to actively seek ways that they can repair (their) important relationship with Israel," the official said

Turkey has downgraded relations with Israel over Israel's refusal to apologize or pay compensation for eight slain Turks and one Turkish-American. The humanitarian workers and activists were shot dead by Israeli commandos in a botched 2010 raid on an aid convoy that was trying to bust Israel's sea blockade of Gaza.

The US has voiced strong concern about the rift between two of its close allies in the region and Clinton has been urging both sides to resolve their differences in calls with Israeli and Turkish leaders in recent months.


U.N. General Assembly: A viewer's guide
September 19th, 2011
07:34 AM ET

U.N. General Assembly: A viewer's guide

By CNN's Joe Vaccarello

World leaders converge on the United Nations in New York this week for the 66th annual session of the General Assembly. Of 193 member nations, South Sudan being newly inducted this past July, 121 heads of state and government are expected to attend the six-day event.

Here is a helpful Security Clearance viewer's guide to key events this week.

MONDAY

The U.N. kicks off events with a two-day first-ever high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases that cumulatively kill three in five people worldwide. It will focus on combating cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is looking to "broker an international commitment that puts noncommunicable diseases high on the development agenda." FULL POST

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U.S. already planning for post-U.N. fallout
September 18th, 2011
08:50 PM ET

U.S. already planning for post-U.N. fallout

By Sr. State Department Producer Elise Labott

Last year during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President  Barack Obama said he hoped peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians could be concluded within a year so that a Palestinian state could be seated at the next year's General Assembly.

Now, his  administration is doing everything it can to prevent that from  happening.

Even as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday promised to seek full statehood for the Palestinians before the U.N. Security Council, the Obama administration - along with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Quartet envoy Tony Blair - is urging Abbas to agree on a road ahead that won't lead to the floor of the U.N.. (READ: What's at stake)

The current negotiations center around a Quartet statement of principles, which would lay out the terms of reference for peace negotiations with a one-year timeline for concluding a peace deal. In essence, it restates the ideas President Obama laid out in his May 19 speech on the Arab Spring.

For starters, Israel gets recognition as a Jewish state. The Palestinians get a state along 1967 borders with agreed-upon land swaps and a settlement freeze. Neither side will get everything it wants, but diplomats sense a softening of positions by both parties.

The United States also is trying to avoid being forced into vetoing the resolution if it is brought to the U.N. Security Council, officials said. As an alternative, the U.S. is trying to block Abbas from getting a necessary nine votes in the council, according to U.S. officials and diplomats from several other
countries.

Even with a U.S. veto, the knowledge that the resolution had a nine-vote majority would be bad for the administration. Senior U.S. officials and several diplomats say the way the math is adding up; the Palestinians would likely struggle to get to nine. That could convince Abbas to bypass the Security Council and go straight to General Assembly. FULL POST

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