BEIJING, July 31 (Xinhuanet) -- US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the Israelis and the Palestinians will meet within two weeks for more peace talks. Speaking as the two sides wrapped up an initial round of talks on Tuesday in Washington, Kerry said they had set a goal of a nine-month deadline for reaching a pact.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat also expressed their delight over what they have achieved and voiced their hope over the future negotiations.
"The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous and substantive negotiations on the core issues and they will meet within the next two weeks in either Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation. The parties have agreed here today that all of the final status issues, all of the core issues and all other issues are all on the table for negotiation and they are on the table with one simple goal. A view to ending the conflict, ending the claims. Our objective will be to achieve a final status agreement over the course of the next nine months," John Kerry said.
"Palestinians have suffered enough and no one benefits more from the success of this endeavour more than Palestinians. I’m delighted that all final status issues are on the table and will be resolved without any exceptions. It’s time for the Palestinian people to have an independent, sovereign state of their own. It’s time for the Palestinians to live in peace, freedom and dignity within their own independent, sovereign state," Saeb Erekat said.
"We all know that it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be hard with ups and downs, but I can assure you that in these negotiations, it’s not our intention to argue about the past, but to create solutions and make decisions for the future," Tzipi Livni said.
Kerry said he was aware of the deep skepticism surrounding the new push for peace and acknowledged that the road ahead would be difficult. But, he said he was hopeful an agreement could be reached. Kerry said a viable two-state solution is the only way to end the conflict.
Earlier Tuesday, US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden met with the lead negotiators. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama called the meeting to "directly express his personal support for final status negotiations and pledged full US support to the process."