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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid