Kerry to meet Israeli, Palestinian negotiators

WASHINGTON Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:10pm EST

United States Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexico's Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington January 17, 2014. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

United States Secretary of State John Kerry holds a news conference with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird and Mexico's Foreign Secretary Jose Antonio Meade (not pictured) at the State Department in Washington January 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli negotiators in Washington on Monday and Palestinian officials later next week in U.S.-brokered peace talks to end their decades-long conflict, the State Department said.

Kerry and U.S. negotiator Martin Indyk will meet with Israeli justice minister Tzipi Livni and envoy Itzik Molho later on Monday "to continue the discussion on a framework for negotiations," the State Department said in a statement.

Meetings between Indyk and Livni, who heads the Israeli negotiating team, will continue on Tuesday when Kerry travels to Switzerland for a Syria peace conference.

"We expect the Palestinian negotiating team to travel to Washington early next week," the State Department said.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations resumed in July after a three-year halt, with Kerry leading the push for an accord within nine months. But both Israeli and Palestinians have expressed doubts about his efforts.

Palestinians see a major obstacle in Israel's settlements of the occupied West Bank where they seek statehood. Many Israelis doubt Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's credibility as a peace partner, especially as Gaza, the other Palestinian territory, is governed by rival Hamas Islamists who oppose peacemaking.

While details of the talks have been kept secret, Kerry has often said progress is being made in the talks. But both Israel and the Palestinians have predicted the nine-month target date for a deal will not be met.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton)

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Comments (24)
PaulBradley wrote:
“While details of the talks have been kept secret . . . ”

Under these circumstances, we as ‘observers’ can’t make a rational conclusion as to which side is serious about reaching an agreement and which side is just masquerading as a “good guy” in order to be seen by the world’s audience as the party with fair intentions.

The latest statements from the Israeli government officials do not show much of an intent to allow Palestinians to have sovereign state.
In fact, and unfortunately, the Israeli governing Likud party’s charter rejects the forming of an independent Palestinian state.

However, the booming threat of economic boycott by the EU might help to pressure the Israelis to be more serious at the negotiations table.

Also, the favorable attitude of the Israeli “business community”, consisting mostly of European and American born Israeli citizens, in support of Palestinian/Israeli agreement might help too since they see in a positive agreement great business opportunity.

I think Kerry’s approach is very good . . .

Jan 20, 2014 3:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Harry079 wrote:
John Kerry is about as good of a Negotiator as “Vlad the Impaler”.

It’s either his way or the spike.

Jan 20, 2014 3:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TBellchambers wrote:
Is US Secretary of State John Kerry unaware that the Likud party manifesto calls for a Greater Israel that runs from the Mediterranean to the Jordan and from Eilat to the Golan with all non Israeli Arabs being expelled or ‘transferred’ to neighboring states?

Does he not appreciate that Netanyahu is the leader of the Likud party?

If so, then he will realise that there is no intention whatsoever on behalf of the Israeli state to stop the illegal settlements or to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. The entire is a charade to project an image of conciliation and a move towards peace. Tragically it is just play acting.

Jan 20, 2014 3:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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