US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that she plans to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the United States next week amid efforts to keep Middle East peace talks alive.
Speaking on a visit to New Zealand, Clinton added she believed the fledgling Israeli-Palestinian talks will continue despite Palestinian threats to abandon them over Israel's refusal to halt settlement building in the West Bank.
"I do intend to see Prime Minister Netanyahu when he is in the United States next week," Clinton told reporters in the New Zealand capital of Wellington, near the end of her two-week regional tour.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that he will fly to the United States this coming weekend for talks on Middle East peace efforts and will speak of the need to combat international terrorism.
Clinton said that details of their planned meeting were still being worked out.
"I want to reiterate that we are working on a non-stop basis with our Israeli and Palestinian friends to design a way forward in the negotiations," the chief US diplomat said.
"I'm convinced that both (Israeli and Palestinian) leaders... are committed to pursuing the two-state solution and it is clear that that can only be achieved through negotiations," she said.
"So I am very involved in finding the way forward and I think that we will be able to do so," she said.
Israel and the Palestinians resumed direct peace negotiations on September 2, after a 20-month hiatus.
But within weeks the talks ran aground following the expiry of a 10-month Israeli moratorium on the building of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu's visit coincides with the end of a one-month deadline that Arab leaders gave the United States to persuade Israel to renew the settlement freeze.