News / Middle East

Kerry: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks Back On

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, July 19, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan, July 19, 2013.
VOA News
Israel and the Palestinians appear headed back to negotiations in the hopes of settling long-standing differences.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the announcement in Amman, Jordan Friday, after returning from a trip to Ramallah and a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

 "We have reached an agreement that establishes a basis for resuming direct, final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," he said. "This is a significant and welcome step forward."  

Kerry said some details are still being worked out but that if all goes well, Palestinians and Israeli officials will travel to Washington for initial talks within the next week or two.

VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns was with Kerry in Amman.

“He [Kerry] has kept this entire process very quiet and again said that candid, private conversations are the very best way to give these negotiations a chance,” Stearns said.

Kerry also praised both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas for making some difficult choices.

"The representatives of two proud peoples today have decided that the difficult road ahead is worth traveling," he said.

This is the sixth trip Kerry has made to the Middle East since becoming secretary of state earlier this year.  He was originally scheduled to have flown back to the U.S. already.  He extended his stay after sensing an agreement to restart talks was within reach.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2010.

The White House says President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday to ask him to work with Kerry to "resume negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible."

Earlier this week, in Jordan, Kerry met with  representatives of Arab states that support a comprehensive peace plan.  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 has been urging both Israel and the Palestinians to be cautious and to avoid any actions or statements that might undermine their progress.

VOA's Scott Stearns says Kerry also intends to keep tight control of the proceedings.

“He [Kerry] said that any speculation that anyone would have before that process is finalized would be pure conjecture and not facts," he said.  "He said that both sides in this agreement have agreed that he, Secretary Kerry, will be the only one to speak about this until the agreement is made.”

But Kerry said Friday he remains optimistic.

"This is not up to chance.  It's up to the Israeli people and the Palestinian people and no one else," he said. "So knowing that the road ahead will be difficult, and the challenges that the parties face will be daunting, we will call on everybody to act in the best of faith and push forward."

Earlier this week,  Kerry said the proposed plan aims to show both sides the benefits of peace, and, in particular, the impact some proposals could have on the Palestinian economy.  He said programs being considered as part of the plan could reduce unemployment in the Palestinian territory from 21 percent to 8 percent over the next three years while also doubling the GDP [Gross Domestic Product].

VOA's Scott Stearns says, ultimately, for the negotiations to succeed, the sides will have to answer a familiar question.

“The basis of these talks all along has been the 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative, which was modified earlier this year to allow for land swaps to account for Israeli settlements post-1967," he said. "So the detail then would be - is Israel going to be able to keep all of its settlements once that final map is drawn and what will Israel then give up in those land swaps to account for the post-1967 settlements that it will keep.”

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid