Kerry meets Israeli and Palestinian leaders in a bid to restart talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad as well as the Israeli President, Shimon Peres. After his meeting with Peres, Kerry declared that the structures for Israeli and Palestinian states side by side “already exist.” He is expected to present an action plan for new talks in eight weeks time.
In a visit accused of so-called “shuttle diplomacy”, Kerry met with leaders but not with the press. The US Secretary of state insisted that specific details be kept private in order that, as he put it, things could move forward.
Speaking yesterday evening, Kerry stated openly that he has “no illusions about the difficulties” of returning to talks, but said that a belief in the possibility is key.
Several measures to encourage both sides back to the negotiating table prior to Kerry’s visit included financial benefits for the Palestinian Authority, and a US request to Israel to halt settlement construction in the West Bank.
In his meeting with Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu this morning, Kerry will have to juggle Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ request that Netanyahu present a map showing the borders of a future Palestinian state prior to the resumption of talks.
Israeli politicians previously told reporters that the request was a way to avoid negotiations.