WASHINGTON – Shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry named former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk as his main envoy in Israeli-Palestinian talks, President Barack Obama released a statement saying he was pleased that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the invitation to formally resume direct final status negotiations and have sent senior negotiating teams to Washington for the first round of meetings.
"This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead," he said in the statement.
Kerry-Indyk press conference (Video: Reuters)
"During my March visit to the region, I experienced first-hand the profound desire for peace among both Israelis and Palestinians, which reinforced my belief that peace is both possible and necessary. I deeply appreciate Secretary Kerry's tireless work with the parties to develop a common basis for resuming direct talks, and commend both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for their leadership in coming to the table," Obama said.
According to the American leader, "the most difficult work of these negotiations is ahead, and I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith and with sustained focus and determination. The United States stands ready to support them throughout these negotiations, with the goal of achieving two states, living side by side in peace and security."
Obama said Indyk brings "unique experience and insight to this role, which will allow him to contribute immediately as the parties begin down the tough, but necessary, path of negotiations."
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