News / Middle East

Kerry Urges Hard Decisions After Meetings with Israeli, Palestinians

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) waves as he stands next to Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat before his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 23, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) waves as he stands next to Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat before his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 23, 2013.
Scott Bobb
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ended a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories Friday by urging their leaders to make the hard decisions needed to revive the Middle East peace talks.
 
Concluding his fourth visit to the region in three months, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Israel and the Palestinians to restart direct negotiations without preconditions.
 
"We do not want to get stuck in a place where we are arguing about a particular substantive issue that is actually part of a final settlement and that argument takes you so long that you never get to the negotiations that bring about a final settlement," said Kerry.
 
The remarks were not likely to please the Palestinians who say they will return to the negotiations only if Israel stops building new Jewish housing in the West Bank and releases all political prisoners

Photo Gallery: Kerry in Middle East
 
  • 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.

The Israelis say any talks should resume without preconditions.
 
During his visit, Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders.
 
Kerry said both sides know what the choices are.
 
"Both sides know what is needed in order to try to move forward. And it's really time for the governments to make their decisions. Are they prepared? This is not something that we [the United States] can decide. This is something that the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Palestinian Authority have to decide. And we're getting towards the time now where hard decisions need to be made," he said.
 
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
x
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
Secretary of State John Kerry travels to the following countries, May 21-26.
The Middle East peace talks have been largely stalled over the past four years.
 
Kerry's diplomacy over the past three months has been aimed at achieving small concessions that could encourage the two sides to adopt more flexible positions to allow direct talks to resume.
 
"Peace is actually possible notwithstanding the doubts that some people have because of past disappointments," said Kerry.
 
During his visit to the region, Kerry attended a conference in Jordan supporting Syria's opposition that reiterated its support for a negotiated solution to the conflict in Syria. It also pledged to increase its support for Syrian rebels until a political transition begins.
 
Before departing Kerry commented on the upcoming presidential elections in Iran (Friday) saying that the elimination of hundreds of candidates by Iran's Guardian Council, whose members are appointed by the government, is not a free and fair process.  

Kerry's next stop is Ethiopia for a two-day meeting of leaders of the African Union.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid