Israel, Palestinians must take hard decisions: Kerry
TEL AVIV - Agence France-Presse
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference in Tel Aviv May 24, 2013. REUTERS PhotoUS Secretary of State John Kerry urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Friday to take "hard decisions" to revive the Middle East peace process.
"We're getting toward a time now when hard decisions need to be made," he told a news conference in Tel Aviv at the end of his fourth visit to the region since he took office in February.
Kerry has been pressing Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks that broke down in September 2010.
Meeting Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank and Israel's premier Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday, Kerry admitted there was scepticism and cynicism about his bid to broker new talks.
"I know this region well enough to know there is scepticism, in some quarters there is cynicism, and there are reasons for it. There have been bitter years of disappointment," he said.
But he insisted: "It is our hope that by being methodical, careful, patient, but detailed and tenacious, that we can lay on a path ahead that can conceivably surprise people and certainly exhaust the possibilities for peace." And in a powerful message to Palestinians, who are used to just seeing American motorcades sweep by into Abbas's high-walled headquarters compound, Kerry went for a stroll along a Ramallah street.
Despite public pronouncements of support, there is growing frustration that there has been little sign of a shift in the long-held positions of the two sides.
Complicating efforts is the new Israeli government, which has moved more towards the right and includes some ministers who oppose a two-state solution.
Kerry to meet Lavrov for Syria talks in Paris: US
AMMAN – Agence France-Presse
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Paris on Monday ahead of an expected international conference on ending Syria's conflict, a senior US official has said.
They will meet "to continue discussions from their meeting just a few weeks ago in Russia, and provide updates as they plan ahead for the international conference on Syria," the State Department official said in a statement on Friday.