US envoy denies administration holding up peace plan

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman denies that the administration is considering postponing publishing its much-awaited peace proposal, saying that the plan will be released whenever it has the best chance to succeed.

“I would like to reaffirm that the United States remains committed to sharing its vision for peace with Israel, the Palestinians and other regional and international stakeholders at the appropriate time,” he says in a rare written statement posted to the US Embassy’s website.

Friedman confirms a report last week about a top-level meeting at the White House to discuss the content and timing of the peace plan. Besides Friedman, the meeting was attended by US President Donald Trump, senior adviser Jared Kushner, chief peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The meeting was “very productive,” Friedman says, noting that participants “discussed the President’s vision for comprehensive peace between Israel and the Palestinians,” but not offering further details.

He insists media reports of the meeting claiming that the participants decided to delay the plan “have been wildly inaccurate.”

The peace plan will be released when the administration thinks it has “maximized its potential for acceptance, execution and implementation,” the ambassador says. “Our timing, our strategy and our messaging is and will be entirely our own.”

— Raphael Ahren

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