News / Middle East

    Kerry Ends Mideast Trip With Pledge to Restart Peace Talks

    US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands before holding talks in Jerusalem, Apr. 9, 2013.
    US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands before holding talks in Jerusalem, Apr. 9, 2013.
    Scott Bobb
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories during which he expressed hope for an eventual Middle East peace agreement and underscored U.S. opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran.

    Kerry ended his trip with a two-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said he is intent on reviving the stalled Middle East peace talks. Netanyahu said he was committed to the same goal.

    "I'm determined to, not only to resume the peace process with the Palestinians, but to make a serious effort to end this conflict once and for all," he said.

    Netanyahu said security and Palestinian recognition of the Israeli state were the foremost issues for Israel, but that any peace effort also should have economic components that would improve living conditions in the Palestinian territories. Kerry agreed.

    “Whatever steps we take with respect to economics are in no way a substitute, but they are in addition to the political track," he said. "The political track is first and foremost. Other things may happen to supplement it."

    • Israel's President Shimon Peres and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speak during their meeting in Jerusalem, April 8, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli President Shimon Peres as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits between at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, April 8, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry observes a moment of silence after laying a wreath during a ceremony marking Israel's annual day of Holocaust remembrance, at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, April 8, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of the U.S. Marine Corps Detachment before speaking to U.S. foreign service workers during his visit to the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem, April 8, 2013.
    • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 7, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, April 7, 2013.
    • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry board a second plane after their original aircraft had mechanical problems at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland April 6, 2013.


    Impasse

    The peace talks have been stalled for nearly three years. The Palestinians say before they will return to the negotiating table Israel must halt construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and release political prisoners.

    The Israelis say they are prepared to return to the talks, without preconditions.

    Upon his arrival Sunday Kerry met with the head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas who reportedly reiterated the Palestinian demands.

    U.S. officials said Kerry was proposing what were termed confidence building measures to try to bring the two sides back to the talks.

    A senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Hanna Amira, said he is not optimistic. This time U.S. officials are trying to replace Palestinian conditions on settlement construction, he said, adding that he does not think Kerry's overtures will succeed.

    Iran

    Concern about Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program was also high on the agenda for the U.S. and Israeli officials. Netanyahu said Iran cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

    Kerry, in his remarks, said the U.S. government is still open to negotiations but they cannot go on endlessly. And the military option to strike alleged Iranian nuclear weapons installations remains on the table.

    Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and has vowed to retaliate if attacked.

    Kerry is next scheduled to be in London for a meeting of the G8 foreign ministers to discuss a range of regional and transnational issues.

    Kerry then is slated to begin a three-nation tour of Asia that is expected to be dominated by the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ron Matar from: Australia
    April 11, 2013 2:33 AM
    Why should the U.S support Israeli insistence the Palestinians recognise the State of Israel when the official stance of the U.S on this matter is " In the view of the United States, International Law does not require a State to recognise another entity as a State, it is a matter for the judgment of each State as to whether an entity merits recognition as a State. .

    by: Hakim Al Batuti from: Iran
    April 09, 2013 11:32 AM
    we know Israel has caused the so called "earth quake" that degraded to nuclear site they were asking the UN to inspect...

    by: Troy Cumberland from: USA
    April 09, 2013 11:19 AM
    We view this latest attempt by the US as misguided. It is very easy to discern the intentions of the Arabs in relation to Israel - and they are not shy demonstrating these intention in every media outlet. all we have to do is listen and see that their avowed intention is the destruction of one of the most unique and cherished intellectual achievements in human recorded history. Instead of learning to live with Israel in peace and benefit from their incredible talents and intellectual achievements the Arabs seek to destroy it. whether by direct confrontation or by their latest approach - crying to the UN of "racial" discrimination..

    you couldn't make up this stupidity on "Saturday Night Live"... well, Arabs will be Arabs... still, by actively inculcating Arab children to hate Christians Jews and Hindus we should be concerned. it is up to Jordan to absorb their "Palestinians" brothers (which are Jordanian by the way) - the Jordanians have been feeding of "Palestinians" confected story long enough. I wish Israel took a lesson from Assad on how to deal decisively with the Arabs.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora