News / Middle East

    In Mideast, Kerry Looks to Jump-Start Peace Talks

    Kerry in Mideast, Looks to Jump-start Peace Talksi
    X
    May 23, 2013 10:20 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tried to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks during his visit to the Middle East. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Kerry met separately Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met separately Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as part of Obama administration efforts to jump-start peace talks.  

    Netanyahu commended U.S. Congressional moves to upgrade sanctions against Tehran and recommit the United States to standing with Israel against the threat of Iran's nuclear program.

    "But above all," he said, "what we want to do is to restart the peace talks with the Palestinians."

    Ahead of their Jerusalem meeting, Kerry said he is grateful for the seriousness with which Netanyahu is working on returning to those talks and appreciative of the personal energy he is putting into helping move forward.

    "I know this region well enough to know that there is skepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism and there are reasons for it," Kerry said. "There have been bitter years of disappointment. It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay out a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people but certainly exhaust the possibilities of peace."
     
    Kerry met separately with Palestinian President Abbas in the West Bank, but neither man spoke with reporters ahead of those talks.

    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told a United Nations committee this week that Palestinians are "exerting every possible effort" to see that U.S. peace efforts succeed. He added: "No one benefits more from the success of Secretary Kerry than Palestinians and no one loses more from his failure than Palestinians."

    Erekat said "there is a good opportunity now" to get to a two-state solution to the conflict roughly along pre-1967 boundaries.

    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat upon his arrival in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 23, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 23, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, gestures while meeting with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, May 23, 2013.
    • Group photo of leaders at the friends of Syria conference in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens to remarks at a meeting on Syria in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman, Jordan, May 22, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is greeted by Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Muscat, Oman, May 21, 2013.

    Kerry has helped revive an Arab League peace initiative on a two-state solution that includes concessions of land swaps to account for post-1967 Israeli settlements.
    Kerry and Netanyahu also discussed the civil war in neighboring Syria and a U.S./Russia initiative to negotiate a transitional authority for Damascus.
     
    "Nobody has any illusions about how difficult, complicated, what a steep climb that is," Kerry said. "But we also understand that the killing that is taking place, the massacres that are taking place, the incredible destabilization of Syria is spilling over into Lebanon, into Jordan, and has an impact obviously on Israel."
     
    Israel is thought to have attacked weapons shipments inside Syria that were going to Lebanese Hezbollah militants who have increasingly joined the fight alongside troops loyal to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    While Russia is a co-sponsor of this Syrian peace effort, it remains one of the biggest arms suppliers to the government in Damascus.
     
    "S-300 missiles coming from Russia, or other countries, Iran missiles, are destabilizing to the region," Kerry said. "The United States is committed, not only in its defense of Israel, but in its concerns for the region to try to address this issue."

    Netanyahu also met Thursday with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Hague was in Jordan Wednesday with Kerry and officials from nine other countries backing Syria's opposition.

    That group agreed to increase its support for opposition groups if Assad does not agree to peace talks.

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells California Republican Convention delegates the campaign will be 'a battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of the June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    May 23, 2013 11:12 AM
    Well. In the region of Judea and Samaria Israel agrees to cede land to children of Ishmael and Esau. Nothing spoil. But the Palestinians should grab this opportunity - if they are serious about two state solution. Otherwise I suggest that Israel should go ahead to accommodate those now living within the region of Judea and Samaria as tenants, though they may not be asked to leave - for onward integration when time cleanses them of barbarism and stone-age fundamentalism. Since Obama understands what's been at play and wants to deal the Palestinians this favor, the Palestinians cannot but dive into it headlong. They really have a brother in Barak Obama.

    by: Theresa Rodriguez from: USA
    May 23, 2013 10:54 AM
    hey JohnVW... you really need to go see a team of psychiatrists... urgently... that is, before you strap some explosives on your children and blow them up.
    Israel is part of America... if you don't like it... there are a Billion places to go to where Jews and Christians are not allowed... you will be much happier there...

    by: Michael from: USA
    May 23, 2013 7:37 AM
    Kerry stated, "there have been bitter years of disappointment." The disappointment is the idea both sides have in common and it means that there is a bridge there. Also, the bitter years have not corrupted the disappointment because there does not yet exist an "uber"-disappointment. Kerry is very much worth listening to this week-end

    by: JohnWV from: USA
    May 23, 2013 6:50 AM
    Israel's Mideast malevolence is a purposeful sideshow. It enables the ever increasing Israeli/Jewish control of America's government, finances and military-industrial complex. The Jewish state has occupied not just Palestine, but America too. Our democracy is being methodically destroyed from within and transformed into a world dominating racist ultrapower, the JEWISH STATE OF AMERICA.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora