Kerry meets officials amid push for Israeli-Palestinian peace
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 00:37
April 30 - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with a group of Arab League officials in a new push to promote an Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met a group of senior Arab officials on Monday (April 29) as he sought to build regional support for any fresh push for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
Kerry has made no secret of his hope to revive peace talks, which broke down in 2010, but it remains unclear whether U.S. President Barack Obama will decide to back a major U.S. effort.
In convening the group, Kerry is trying to ensure that a new peace process would have the backing of the Arab states, who, if they were to offer Israel a comprehensive peace, hold a powerful card that could provide an incentive for Israeli compromises.
After meeting the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers as well as with officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League, Kerry and the Arab states voiced support for a 2002 Arab League peace initiative.
"On behalf of the President, I reaffirmed, as did the Vice President, the U.S. commitment to pursue the end of the conflict based on the vision President Obama outlined in May of 2011: two states living side-by-side in peace and security brought about by direct negotiations between the parties. The U.S. and Arab League delegation here this afternoon agreed that peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, would advance security, prosperity, and stability in the Middle East, and that is a common interest for the region and the whole world. The U.S. and Arab League delegation this afternoon also agreed about the importance for this particular dialogue. And so, we agreed to continue consultations on a regular basis and to meet as a group as needed in order to try to advance the efforts towards peace and an end to the conflict," Kerry told reporters after the talks at Blair House, the U.S. president's guest house. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attended part of the meeting.
The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war and accepted a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.
"The Arab League delegation affirm that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the fourth of June, 1967 line, with the possible (sic) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who serves as Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, told reporters.
Rejected by Israel when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has major hurdles to overcome. Israel objects to key points, including a return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state, and the return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.
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