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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid