WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians will likely proceed beyond the original deadline of April, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.
"I don't think anybody would worry if there's another nine months, or whatever it's going to be, to finish up," the top American envoy told reporters at the State Department. "But that's not defined yet."
Kerry had aimed for a deal on all the final-status issues -- security, border, the status of Jerusalem and refugees, within nine months when he brought back the two sides for fresh negotiations in late July last year.
However, no visible progress has been made so far as the parties have been wrangling over settlement building on the occupied land, security arrangements and other issues.
Kerry, who has traveled to the region 10 times for the past year, is focusing his efforts on selling off a framework plan that will guide negotiations by sketching the outlines of an accord.
"We're using the current deadline to help shape this," he said.
"I laugh at people who say it's not going anywhere," said Kerry, who had asked for a tight lid on information about the negotiations. "They don't know because we're not talking about where it's at. They have no clue where our negotiations are and whether they could go anywhere."
In an address to the UN General Assembly in September last year, U.S. President Barack Obama cited the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and Iran's nuclear program as his two near-term goals in foreign policy.
Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on March 3.