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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs