Tags: john | kerry | israel | palestinian | peace

Kerry: Israeli, Palestinian Leaders Serious on Talks

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:29 AM

Israeli and Palestinian leaders are both committed to reviving peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, but he acknowledged that progress on the long-stalled negotiations would be tough.

 

Israeli-Palestinian talks broke down in late 2010 in a dispute over construction of Jewish settlements on occupied West Bank land that Palestinians want as part of their future state.

Kerry, who held separate talks with both sides in May, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wanted the peace process to move forward. This would be Kerry's fifth attempt to restart talks.

"I believe they believe the peace process is bigger than any one day or one moment, or certainly more important to their countries than some of their current political challenges," he told a news conference in Kuwait with Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Sabah.

"That is why both of them have indicated a seriousness of purpose. I would not be here now if I didn't have the belief this is possible," he said.

Kerry earlier met Kuwait's ruler, crown prince and foreign minister as part of a regional tour. He flies to Amman later on Wednesday and will meet separately with Jordan's King Abdullah, Netanyahu and Abbas during his two-day trip there.

There has been no public indication from the Palestinians that Abbas is prepared to drop his long-standing demand for a freeze in settlement construction before resuming peace talks.

In an apparent bid to support Kerry's efforts, Netanyahu has quietly halted housing starts in settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since his new government came to power in March, Israel's housing minister said earlier this month, but projects already under way are continuing.

Kerry said he did not want to set any deadlines for the peace process but called for progress before the United Nations General Assembly in September. Mistrust needed to be overcome, he said, to "avoid the disappointment and failures of the past".

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said Israel intended to persist in the negotiations to tackle all the issues. "This will require time, determination and a systematic approach," he said, adding that he hoped the Palestinians sought the same.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


   
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Israeli and Palestinian leaders are both committed to reviving peace talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, but he acknowledged that progress on the long-stalled negotiations would be difficult.
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2013-29-26
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:29 AM
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