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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid