News / Middle East

Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian Talks Getting Closer

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Jordanian capital, Amman, July 17, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a joint press conference with Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Jordanian capital, Amman, July 17, 2013.
VOA News
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians are moving closer to resuming peace talks.

Kerry told reporters in Jordan Wednesday his talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials have been able to narrow differences between the two sides.

"Despite everything else that is happening in the region, despite all of the pressures of neighboring states, of refugees, conflict, despite the pressures of a volatile neighborhood, the fact is that both sides continue to work, up to this point, in good faith, in a good effort in order to try to find a way to succeed," he said.

Kerry also warned the parties not to take steps that would undermine the process.

His remarks in Amman came during his sixth trip to the Middle East since becoming secretary of state earlier this year. 

Earlier in the day, Kerry briefed the Arab League chief and representatives of Arab states that support a comprehensive peace plan. He also met with Jordan's King Abdullah, and was scheduled to meet again later Wednesday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Kerry has made reviving the Israeli-Palestinian talks -- which collapsed in 2010 -- one of his top priorities.  During Wednesday's news conference, he said many of the Arab League ministers told him "the core issue of instability in this region and in many other parts of the world is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

Kerry said part of the plan is to show both sides the benefits of peace, and in particular the impact some proposals could have on the Palestinian economy.

"Our hope is that over the span of about three years you could actually reduce the unemployment rate from 21 percent to 8 percent, that you could double the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] of all of the Palestinian territory," said the secretary of state. 

Despite his focus on restarting the peace talks, Kerry said his discussions also covered the conflict in Syria and the tensions in Egypt.

Kerry emphasized the need for a political solution in Syria that "promises the people of Syria a future without violence."

"The combination of the Iranian Quds force on the ground in Syria, and Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, on the ground in Syria and Russian support coming in has been the difference that's tilted some of these initiatives toward President Assad but not for the long term.  And I think that's why we continue to say the political solution is the ultimate solution," he said.

Kerry is weighing a possible visit to a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan before his trip ends.  He would be the most senior U.S. official to survey the refugee situation, which has strained host countries like Jordan.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid