News / Middle East

Kerry Meets Vatican Officials on Middle East Ahead of Pope's Visit

Kerry Meets Vatican Officials on Middle East Ahead of Pope's Visiti
X
January 14, 2014 11:59 PM
The United States and the Vatican are consulting on ways to bring peace to Syria and solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Pope Francis is set to visit the Middle East in May. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from Vatican City where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday with the new Secretary of State for the Holy See, Pietro Parolin.
— The United States and the Vatican are consulting on ways to bring peace to Syria and solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pope Francis is set to visit the Middle East in May. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Tuesday with the new Secretary of State for the Holy See, Pietro Parolin.

U.S. officials say Pope Francis is launching a more active foreign policy for the Vatican, backing efforts to bring Syria's warring factions together at peace talks next week and supporting Secretary Kerry's work to find a two-state solution to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

"The resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is a positive sign, and I pray that both parties will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end," said Pope Francis.

Kerry and Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the head of diplomacy at the Vatican, discussed the Middle East on Tuesday, ahead of the Pope's planned trip to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories in May. Kerry says he briefed his Vatican counterpart on the status of Israeli Palestinian peace talks.

"There are issues of enormous concern to the Holy See not just about peace, but also about the freedom of access for religious worship in Jerusalem for all religions and appropriate resolution with respect to Jerusalem that respects that going forward," said Kerry.

The U.S.-led talks are struggling to overcome issues of security in a would-be Palestinian state.  Israeli officials also want to guard against future rocket attacks .

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and how they will affect the Palestinian state's borders are a source of disagreement between the two sides.  Former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli says there is little apparent room for compromise.

"I think they both want agreements, but they don't want agreements on terms acceptable to the other side. Israel wants a neutered Palestinian state where it has a security presence and that doesn't have access to East Jerusalem. Palestinians want a state they can be proud to call their own," said Ereli.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is under pressure to deliver on these talks, especially as Israeli settlement activity continues.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has questioned the Palestinian commitment to these talks, deepening what American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett says is a fortress mentality enabled by unwavering U.S. support.

"When you have constantly in American domestic politics this iron-clad security commitment to Israel with ever-more billions and billions of dollars of weapons systems going to the Israelis, it's like the wall. It builds a strategic concept of Fortress Israel where there is no incentive to compromise," said Mann Leverett.

Consultations here ahead of the pope's visit to the Middle East are part of Kerry's push to unify diplomatic pressure on Israeli and Palestinian leaders especially as the pontiff's trip will come near the end of nine months of scheduled talks on a two-state solution.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid