The Cable

Briefing Skipper: Hillary calls Bibi, Mitchell and Feltman call everybody, no new START with Russia yet

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Friday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu this morning "to make clear the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about ...

In which we scour the transcript of the State Department’s daily presser so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights of Friday’s briefing by spokesman P.J. Crowley:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu this morning "to make clear the United States considered the announcement a deeply negative signal about Israel’s approach to the bilateral relationship and counter to the spirit of the vice president’s trip, and to reinforce that this action had undermined trust and confidence in the peace process and in America’s interests."
  • "The secretary said she could not understand how this happened, particularly in light of the United States’ strong commitment to Israel’s security, and she made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they committed to this relationship and to the peace process," Crowley said, later adding, "We accept what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. By the same token, he is the head of the Israeli government and ultimately is responsible for the actions of that government."
  • Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman and Special Envoy George Mitchell have been working the phones hard, trying to save the initiative for "proximity talks." They spoke with President Abbas, Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit of Egypt, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa.
  • Clinton is in New York today addressing the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. Her message is, "Women’s progress is human progress, and human progress is women’s progress," Crowley said. She will also meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the middle east and Haiti.
  • START follow on talks with Russia are ongoing in Geneva but no news to report about a deal. "What is important is we arrive at a quality agreement," said Crowley.
 Twitter: @joshrogin
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