John Kerry: A 'Basis' For New Israeli-Palestinian Talks
Nothing ever seems to come easy in the Middle East, but Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that there was "a basis" for a new round Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which would be the first such talks in several years.
Kerry made the announcement in Amman, Jordan, after a series of discussions with Palestinian and Arab leaders.
"We have reached an agreement that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis," Kerry said, according to The Associated Press. "This is a significant and welcome step forward."
One sticking point for new negotiations appears to be the Palestinian demand that the 1967 borders be the starting point for any talks. Israel has negotiated on this basis in previous talks. However, Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu's government says Israel will never accept a return to those borders, arguing that the country would not be secure.
The Israelis and Palestinians have been holding periodic peace talks for the past two decades without achieving any major breakthroughs. All the toughest issues still remain: the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, security arrangements and the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Senior Israeli and Palestinian figures are expected to come to Washington in the next week or so to work on the final details for resuming negotiations.
Kerry has been pushing hard to resume the talks, making six visits to the region since he became secretary of state earlier this year.
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