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Kerry: Negotiations Are the Only Way

Amid reports that the U.S. intends to force a peace agreement, Kerry stresses the importance of negotiations.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/5/2013, 3:13 AM

John Kerry
John Kerry
Flash 90

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that the United States will maintain the current track of Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace negotiations he helped launch in July.

Speaking in Riyadh, where he met with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, Kerry added that Washington sees “no other plan” other than negotiations, reported Reuters.

While he did not specifically mention it, Kerry may have been responding to a report on Monday which said that the United States intends to try and force a peace agreement on Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

According to the report on Army Radio, the U.S. has informed Israel and the Palestinian Authority that if negotiations between them do not advance, Washington will propose its own solution, that will include a U.S. position on every point that is in contention.

In effect, according to the report, this will be an attempt to force the sides to agree on a solution formulated by the U.S.

The long-stalled peace talks resumed over the summer after Kerry pressured both sides to return to the negotiating table.

Kerry set a timetable of nine months for the talks but, according to some reports, very little progress has been made in the talks and there is a wide rift between the positions of the two sides.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, despite agreeing to the peace talks without preconditions, declared after the talks started that unless Israel meets all of his preconditions, there will be no peace.

These preconditions include a demand for a Palestinian state along the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day war and no Israeli security presence whatsoever in the Jordan Valley.