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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

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.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs