WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State John Kerry commented on President Barack Obama's
efforts to restart negotiations between Israel
and the Palestinians on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters in Iraq, he said: "We have to keep working at this. We’ve just begun those discussions. I wouldn’t characterize them in any way except open, candid, and a good beginning."
Kerry, who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
on Saturday, added, "I know from the President, before he left, that he was very impressed by the discussions he had. The stage has been set for the possibilities that parties can hopefully find a way to negotiations."
The US secretary of state said Obama's visit
to the Middle East
was "historic in every respect" and added, "I know that the folks in Israel felt its impact.
Kerry, Abbas and Obama in Bethlehem (Photo: Reuters)
"They were impressed by him, impressed by the vision that he expressed, and I think that his words even after he has left are reverberating. People are debating and talking, and that is precisely what the President sought to do."
Nevertheless, Kerry remained cautious as to the prospects of progress in the peace process.
"Expressing optimism when you don’t even have negotiations would be foolhardy," he said. "I have hope that the President’s words kindled a sense of the possible in the people of Israel and the region and the Palestinians."
"He has charged me and others with the responsibility of trying to find out what the way forward is."
On Saturday it was reported that Kerry is arranging a meeting between officials from the United States, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan
to be held in Amman.
Reports in Sky Arabia and the London-based Al-Sharq al-Awsat said that Kerry is working alongside Jordanian officials to arrange the meeting which was proposed during a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah on Friday.
There has not been any official confirmation of the report but a Jordanian official told Ynet that a high-level meeting is being planned for April or May.
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