Obama comes up with timetable for Middle East peace negotiations; Netanyahu will give Palestinian Authority security forces more control over parts of West Bank; China will not dump US debt; Japan fights for role in civil nuclear sector; Sarkozy faces campaign funding scandal; and more
Top of the Agenda: Obama, Netanyahu to Move on Middle East Peace
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to move forward with the Middle East peace process (NYT) after a White House meeting. Obama gave a timetable for peace negotiations for the first time, saying he expected direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians to begin "well before" a moratorium on settlement construction ended in September. Netanyahu promised to take "concrete steps" in weeks ahead to move talks forward. The two leaders also discussed Iran's nuclear ambitions and Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons program. Instead of pushing Netanyahu to extend the existing moratorium on settlements, Obama said moving from U.S.-brokered "proximity talks" to direct talks would incentivize Netanyahu to act on his own.
Netanyahu thanked Obama (FT) for successfully pushing for tighter UN sanctions on Iran and for unilateral U.S. measures.
To advance the peace process, U.S. and Israeli officials said Netanyahu's government is prepared (WSJ) to grant the Palestinian Authority's security forces more control over areas of the West Bank and to release more prisoners loyal to Abbas.
In the Guardian, Jonathan Freedland says Obama and Netanyahu are "happy to go along with a strategy of pause and delay" since bold moves would endanger their domestic political support.
In the Jerusalem Post, Ray Hanania says the lack of courageous Palestinian leadership has made it easy for Netanyahu's government and Palestinian activists to avoid peace.
This CFR Crisis Guide looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PACIFIC RIM: China Rules Out Dumping U.S. Debt
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange sought to allay concerns that it would dump its vast holdings of U.S. debt (Reuters), and called on the United States to be a responsible guardian of the U.S. dollar.
Japan: Japan moved to secure its role (WSJ) in the global, civil nuclear sector by setting up a government-backed organization to promote Japanese technology and fight off competition for multibillion-dollar contracts from rivals such as South Korea.
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org