WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the Middle East next week to discuss Israeli- Palestinian peace talks, the U.S. State Department said Saturday.
The top American envoy will travel on Wednesday, the New Year's Day, to Jerusalem to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
"In these meetings, he will discuss the ongoing final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians, among other issues," Psaki said in a statement.
The forthcoming trip will mark Kerry's tenth trip to the region since taking the top diplomatic job.
Peace talks between Israel and Palestine were restarted under the brokerage of Washington in late July with a view to finalizing an agreement by the end of April next year, but blames traded by the two sides have brought the talks to a halt.
Israeli media reported on Wednesday that Netanyahu was expected to announce construction plan of thousands of new housing units in the settlement, close to the upcoming planned release of 26 Palestinian prisoners.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday that Israel would destroy the peace talks if it announces any new plans for settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and could be met with retaliation.
JERUSALEM, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States is pressuring Israeli officials not to announce the construction of new West Bank settlements following the upcoming release of more Palestinian prisoners on Dec. 29.
According to a report by local Ha'aretz daily, an Israeli senior official told the newspaper that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had visited the region twice in the past month, urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act with restraint and not to undermine the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Full story
JERUSALEM, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived on Thursday evening in Israel for another visit to the region to salvage negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy to Israel confirmed to Xinhua.
The storm which hit Israel and specifically Jerusalem altered Kerry's plans for the visit. Instead of meeting Israeli leaders on Thursday, Kerry will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday and Netanyahu and Peres on Friday. Full story
JERUSALEM, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that a final status peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians is within reach by April of 2014, Ha'aretz newspaper reported.
Israel would release more Palestinian prisoners in two weeks as planned, Kerry said. "We're not talking at this point about any shifts (in the scheduled deadline) and the next tranche of prisoners is due to be released on December 29 and it will take place then." Full story
RAMALLAH, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas informed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry his reservations on the latter's security plan for a future solution with Israel, a Palestinian official said Thursday.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Abbas and Kerry met in the West Bank city of Ramallah as Kerry is back to the region for the second time this month in order to push for a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Full story
RAMALLAH, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian negotiators have decided to complete peace negotiations with Israel within the specified 9-month timeframe despite "unacceptable" recommendations offered by the U.S. to solve the dispute, a Palestinian official said Wednesday.
"The Palestinian leadership doesn't want to appear responsible for stopping the negotiations or to be blamed for thwarting the U. S. peace efforts," said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media. Full story