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US fails to freeze settlements

The United States on Tuesday suspended its demand for Israel to renew a freeze on settlement building in the occupied West Bank, throwing what so called “peace talks” into deeper disarray.

President Barack Obama presided over the relaunch of direct negotiations in Washington in September, only to see them bog down within weeks when an Israeli settlement moratorium expired and the Palestinians refused to come back to the table.

The White House and the State Department disclosed Tuesday that weeks of efforts to broker a new settlement freeze and resuscitate the “peace talks” had gone nowhere.

“We have been pursuing a moratorium as a means to create conditions for a return to meaningful and sustained negotiations,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in a televised briefing in New York City.

“After a considerable effort, we have concluded that this does not create a firm basis to work towards our shared goal of a framework agreement,” Crowley said.

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