US, Israel fail to resolve diplomatic crisis

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Washington, Mar 25(ANI): The United States and Israel have failed to resolve a diplomatic crisis sparked off by Israel's housing plans for East Jerusalem, despite a high-level visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu returned to Israel on Thursday, ending a troubled three-day visit, where he held two separate meetings with United States President Barack Obama.

According to reports, the talks failed over Israeli defiance on the issue of settlements and silence maintained by both sides after his three-and-a-half-hour visit to the White House.

The meeting was overshadowed by Israeli approval for 20 homes built for Jews in Jerusalem, a move denounced by one senior US official as "exactly what we expect Prime Minister Netanyahu to get control of".

However, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama had asked Netanyahu for confidence-building gestures and clarification of his position on settlements.

He also described the talks as "honest and straightforward".

In Jerusalem, the Israeli Government press office issued a statement saying that the talks had been held in a good atmosphere.

"They went on longer than expected with the leaders meeting for 90 minutes, then again for half an hour after a long private discussion between Netanyahu and his advisers in the White House Roosevelt Room," The Times quoted the statement, as saying. (ANI)

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