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Kerry On Mideast Peace Mission

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping to move the Middle East peace process forward on November 6.

Kerry will meet in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before traveling to the West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

On arrival in Tel Aviv in the evening on November 5, Kerry said peace talks had run into difficulties but thought it still possible some agreement could be reached.

He was speaking after laying a wreath at the memorial site for slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who signed the 1993 Oslo peace accord with the Palestinians.

"I come here without any illusions about the difficulties. But I come here determined to work with leaders, with the prime minister, with the president of the Palestinian Authority to try and find a way forward so that Israel can live the dream that President [Shimon] Peres and the Prime Minister Mr. Rabin expressed so eloquently and beautifully in the tragedy of that day here and in many days before that," Kerry said.

Few details have emerged from negotiating sessions as the two sides have largely honored Kerry's request to keep them secret.

However, Gideon Saar, the Israeli interior minister told Army Radio on November 5 that the Palestinians were not negotiating in good faith.

In a speech on November 4, Abbas said: "After all the rounds of negotiations there is nothing on the ground."

Kerry convinced the two sides to return to the negotiating table in July after a nearly a three-year break.

To get Abbas back to the negotiating table, Kerry helped negotiate a deal to have Israel release 104 Palestinian prisoners.

Last week, a day after releasing a second batch of Palestinian men, Tel Aviv announced plans to press ahead to build 3,500 more settler homes in the West Bank, a move that angered the Palestinians.

The Palestinians broke off talks three years ago over Israel's refusal to end new settlement construction.


Based on AP and Reuters reporting
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