Kerry: ‘Real progress’ in talks, more work needed

Kerry: ‘Real progress’ in talks, more work needed

RAMALLAH - Agence France-Presse
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said today that there had been “real progress” in his talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders over a resumption of direct peace talks after a gap of nearly three years.

“We agreed we have made real progress, but we have a few things we need to work on,” Kerry said, standing next to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas at his presidential headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah after their third meeting in as many days.

However, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said yesterday that Kerry’s marathon efforts to draw Israel and the Palestinians back to direct negotiations has failed to achieve any breakthrough despite four days of talks.

“It was a positive and profound meeting with president (Mahmoud) Abbas but there has been no breakthrough so far and there is still a gap between the Palestinian and Israeli positions,” Erakat told a news conference.

He was speaking shortly after Kerry held his third round of talks with the Palestinian leader in four days. Over the past four days, Kerry has spent 13 hours in talks with Netanyahu in a hotel suite overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City.