U.S. Secretary of State Kohn Kerry reportedly will remain in Israel in order to hold additional talks leading to an Israeli –Palestinian peace treaty.
Kerry, who arrived in Israel on Thursday, flew to Saudi Arabia on Sunday morning in order to report to Arab leaders on the negotiations. He told reporters in Israel as he left that he would return Sunday night and could stay up to several days longer in order to continue guiding the peace process forward.
Kerry addressed progress in the talks Saturday night in Ramallah in remarks with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, following a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata.
“I am confident that the talks we’ve had in the last two days have already fleshed out and even resolved certain kinds of issues and presented new opportunities for others. That’s the name of this game. It’s a tough process, step by step, day by day,” Kerry said.
From Thursday evening to Sunday morning Kerry met three times each with Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his tenth visit to Israel since taking office.
Kerry added that both Netanyahu and Abbas “have remained absolutely steadfast to this effort and committed to the notion that two peoples living side by side in peace and security is a goal worth fighting for and that the progress being made is sufficient to encourage people to keep going. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do, and I think over the next week we have some very serious homework – all of us – to do.”
On Friday, Kerry surprised a group of university student leaders visiting Israel through the American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange by dropping in to a briefing being conducted by State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki for the university student delegations. Psaki had been giving the students an in-depth briefing on the region when Kerry stopped in and took some questions.
The students, including campus media leaders such as editors-in-chief of their campus newspapers, from across the U.S. , and California university student leaders, met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, both in Israel and in Ramallah, during their visit.JTA
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