Kerry: Progress in peace talks, more work needed

2014-01-04 21:56
John Kerry

John Kerry (File: AFP)

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Ramallah - US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday he was making progress to nudge Israel and the Palestinians toward a framework for peace, but more was still to be done.

"I'm confident that the talks we've had in the past two days have already fleshed out and even resolved certain kinds of issues and presented new opportunities for others," he said after meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

"We're not there yet, but we are making progress," Kerry said, adding he was to fly Sunday to both Jordan and Saudi Arabia for talks on going forward.

"We are beginning to flesh out the toughest hurdles yet to be overcome," he added.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said the Palestinians had more than most riding on an agreed peace deal.

"No-one stands to lose more from failure than the Palestinians," Erakat told reporters at Abbas's West Bank headquarters in Ramallah.

"Failure to us is not an option. We really are doing everything possible to ensure the success of Secretary Kerry's efforts."

The US chief diplomat was heading almost straight into more talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday - their third meeting in three days.

But he announced he would meet next week with Arab League leaders to brief them on his latest round of talks in Israel and the West Bank, without specifying where.

"During this week our teams will continue to work to try to lay the foundation and the groundwork for the progress needed in order for me to come back and take the next steps," he said.

"This is hard work there are narrative issues, difficult, complicated years of mistrust that have been built up," Kerry added.

"All of which has to be worked through and undone and a pathway has to be laid down in which the parties can have confidence that they know what is happening and that the road ahead is real not illusory."

Read more on:    john kerry  |  palestine  |  israel
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